Yenişehir Wiki

D RNK. RNK/English. WORDS. THE LETTERS . THE FLASHES . THE RAYS. 4 The Words (Sözler ) 5 The Letters (Mektûbat ) 6 The Flashes (Lem'alar ) 7 The Rays (Şuâlar ) 8 Signs of Miraculousness (İşârât-ül İ'caz ) 9 The Staff of Moses (Asa-yı Musa ) * The Epitomes of Light (Mesnevî-i Nuriye) *Reasonings (Muhâkemât) Booklets *The Damascus Sermon (Hutbe-i Şâmiye ) *Fruits of Belief (Meyve Risalesi ) *A Guide for Youth (Gençlik Rehberi ) *The Islamic Unity (İttihad-ı İslam ) Others (not translated) *The Barla Letters (Barla Lahikası ) *The Kastamonu Letters (Kastamonu Lahikası ) *The Emirdağ Letters (Emirdağ Lahikası ) *Sikke-i Tasdik-i Gaybî *Âsâr-ı Bedîiyye *İman ve Küfür Muvâzeneleri *Münâzarat *Nur Çeşmesi *Sünûhât - Tulûât - İşârât *Nur Âleminin Bir Anahtarı *Dîvan-ı Harb-i Örfî *Nurun İlk Kapısı *Hizmet Rehberi *Fihrist *Said Nursi *Nur Movement

Kaynak 52 dil english

  1. 16
 From the Risale-i Nur Collection
 by  Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
 Translated from the Turkish by Şükran Vahide
  1. 17
 But he cried through the depths of darkness, "There is no god but You; Glory be unto You! I was indeed among the wrongdoers!"1 * When he called upon his Sustainer saying: "Verily harm has afflicted me, and You are the Most Merciful of the Merciful."2 * But if they turn away, say: "God suffices me, there is no god but He; in Him do I place my trust-He the Sustainer of the Throne [of Glory] Supreme!"3 * For us God suffices, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs.4 * There is no strength and no power other than through God, the High, the Mighty. * The Enduring One, You are the Enduring One! The Enduring One, You are the Enduring One! * And to those who believe guidance and healing.5
 [This the first section of the Thirty-First Letter consists of six Flashes, each of which depicts one of the many lights of the above verses and phrases. The recital of each of these thirty-three times particularly between Maghrib and 'Isha, the prayers at sunset and nightfall, is most meritorious.]
 1. Qur'an, 21:87.
 2. Qur'an, 21:83.
 3. Qur'an, 9:129.
 4. Qur'an, 3:173.
 5. Qur'an, 41:44.
  1. 18


 The supplication of Hadhrat Yunus ibn Matta6 (Peace be upon our Prophet and upon him) is a most powerful supplication, a most effective means for obtaining answer to prayer. The gist of the celebrated story of Jonah (Peace be upon him) is as follows:
 He was cast into the sea and swallowed by a large fish. The sea was stormy, the night turbulent and dark, and hope exhausted. But it was while he was in such a situation that his supplication:
 There is no god other than You, Glory be unto You! Indeed, I was among the wrongdoers acted for him as a swift means of salvation. The secret of his supplication's power was this:
 In that situation all causes were suspended, for Jonah needed to save him one whose command should constrain the whale and the sea, and the night and the sky. The night, the sea, and the whale were united against him. Only one whose command might subdue all three of these could bring him forth on the strand of salvation. Even if the entirety of creation had become his servants and helpers, it would have been of no avail. For causes have no effect. Since Jonah saw with the eye of certainty that there was no refuge other than the Causer of Causes, and unfolded to him was the meaning of Divine Oneness within the light of Divine Unity, his supplication was able suddenly to subdue the night, the sea, and the whale. Through the light of Divine Unity he was able to transform the belly of the whale into a submarine; and the surging sea, which in its awesomeness resembled an erupting volcano, into a peaceable plain, a pleasant place of excursion. Through the light of Unity, he was able to sweep
 6. The Prophet Yunus in the Qur'an is the Biblical Jonah, which name is henceforth used in the present work. (Tr.)
  1. 19
 the sky's countenance clear of all clouds, and to set the moon over his head like a lantern. Creation that had been pressing and threatening him from all sides now showed him a friendly face from every direction. Thus he reached the shore of salvation, where beneath the creeping-gourd tree he observed this favour of his Sustainer.
 Now we are in a situation one hundred times more awesome than that in which Jonah (Upon whom be peace) first found himself. Our night is the future. When we look upon our future with the eye of neglect, it is a hundred times darker and more fearful than his night. Our sea is this spinning globe. Each wave of this sea bears on it thousands of corpses, and is thus a thousand times more frightening than his sea. Our fish is the caprice of our soul which strives to shake and destroy the foundation of our eternal life. This fish is a thousand times more maleficent than his. For his fish could destroy a hundred-year lifespan, whereas ours seeks to destroy a life lasting hundreds of millions of years. This being our true state, we should in imitation of Jonah (Upon whom be peace) avert ourselves from all causes and take refuge directly in the Causer of Causes, that is, our Sustainer. We should say:
 There is no god but You, Glory be unto You! Indeed I was among the wrongdoers,
 and understand with full certainty that it is only He who can repel from us the harm of the future, this world, and caprice of our souls, united against us because of our neglect and misguidance. For the future is subject to His command, the world to His jurisdiction, and our soul to His direction.
 What cause is there other than the Creator of the Heavens and Earth who can know the most subtle and secret thoughts of our heart; who can lighten the future for us by establishing the Hereafter; who can save us from the myriad overwhelming waves of the world? No, outside that Necessarily Existent One, there is nothing that can in any way give aid and effect salvation except by His consent and command.
 This being the case, considering that as a result of his supplication, the whale became for Jonah a vehicle, or a submarine, and the sea, a peaceable plain; and the night became gently lit for him by the moon, so too, we should make the same supplication:
 There is no god but You, Glory be unto You! Indeed I was among the wrongdoers.
 With the sentence "There is no god but You" we draw the gaze of mercy upon our future; with the word "Glory be unto You!" we draw it upon our world; and with the phrase "Indeed I was among the wrongdoers," 
  1. 20
 we draw it upon our soul. Thus our future is illumined with the light of belief and the moonlike luminosity of the Qur'an, and the awe and terror of the night are transformed into tranquillity and joy. Then too, embarking on the ship of the truth of Islam, fashioned in the dockyard of the Most Wise Qur'an, we may pass safely over the sea of this earthly abode, which through the alternation of life and death is boarded by corpses unnumbered, borne on the waves of the years and centuries, and cast into nothingness. Once aboard that ship we may reach the shore of salvation and fulfil our life's duty. The tempest and surging of the sea will appear a series of pleasing images on a screen, and instead of inspiring terror and dread, will delight, caress and illumine the reflective and the meditative gaze. By virtue of the mystery of the Qur'an, and the effect of that Criterion of Truth and Falsehood, our soul will ride no longer us, but instead become our mount. As we ride it, it will be for us a powerful means for the attainment of life everlasting.
 I n S h o r t : Man, in accordance with the comprehensive nature of his being, as he suffers and shakes with malaria, so also he suffers from the shaking and tremors of the earth, and the supreme convulsion of all beings of the Day of Resurrection. As he fears the infinitesimal microbe, he also fears the shooting star that appears among the heavenly bodies. As he loves his home, he also loves the wide world. As he loves his little garden, he also ardently loves infinite and eternal paradise. Man's object of worship, Sustainer, refuge, saviour, and goal then can only be the One in the grasp of Whose power is the whole universe, under Whose command are both atom and planet. Man should therefore constantly say like Jonah (Upon whom be peace):
 There is no god but You, Glory be unto You! Indeed I was among the wrongdoers.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.7
 * * *
 7. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 21


 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 When he called upon his Sustainer saying: "Verily harm has afflicted me, and You are the Most Merciful of the Merciful."1
 The supplication of Job (Upon whom be peace), the champion of patience, is both well-tested and effective. Drawing on the verse, we should say in our supplication,
 O my Sustainer! Indeed harm has afflicted me, and You are the Most Merciful of the Merciful.
 The gist of the well-known story of Job (Upon whom be peace) is as follows:
 While afflicted with numerous wounds and sores for a long time, he recalled the great recompense to be had for his sickness, and endured it with utmost patience. But later, when the worms generated by his wounds penetrated to his heart and his tongue, the seat of the remembrance and knowledge of God, he feared that his duty of worship would suffer, and so he said in supplication not for the sake of his own comfort, but for the sake of his worship of God:
 "O Lord! Harm has afflicted me; my remembrance of You with my tongue and my worship of You with my heart will suffer." God Almighty then accepted this pure sincere, disinterested and devout supplication in the most miraculous fashion. He granted to Job perfect good health and made manifest in him all kinds of compassion. This Flash contains Five Points:
 1. Qur'an, 21:83.
  1. 22
 Corresponding to the outer wounds and sicknesses of Job (Upon whom be peace), we have inner sicknesses of the spirit and heart. If our inner being was to be turned outward, and our outer being turned inward, we would appear more wounded and diseased than Job. For each sin that we commit and each doubt that enters our mind, inflicts wounds on our heart and our spirit.
 The wounds of Job (Upon whom be peace) were of such a nature as to threaten his brief worldly life, but our inner wounds threaten our infinitely long everlasting life. We need the supplication of Job thousands of times more than he did himself. Just as the worms that arose from his wounds penetrated to his heart and tongue, so too the wounds that sin inflicts upon us and the temptations and doubts that arise from those wounds will-may God protect us!-penetrate our inner heart, the seat of belief, and thus wound belief. Penetrating too the spiritual joy of the tongue, the interpreter of belief, they cause it to shun in revulsion the remembrance of God, and reduce it to silence.
 Sin, penetrating to the heart, will blacken and darken it until it extinguishes the light of belief. Within each sin is a path leading to unbelief. Unless that sin is swiftly obliterated by seeking God's pardon, it will grow from a worm into a snake that gnaws on the heart.
 For example, a man who secretly commits a shameful sin will fear the disgrace that results if others become aware of it. Thus the existence of angels and spirit beings will be hard for him to endure, and he will long to deny it, even on the strength of the slightest indication.
 Similarly, one who commits a major sin deserving of the torment of Hell, will desire the non-existence of Hell wholeheartedly, and whenever he hears of the threat of Hell-fire, he will dare to deny it on the strength of a slight indication and doubt, unless he takes up in protection the shield of repentance and seeking forgiveness.
 Similarly, one who does not perform the obligatory prayer and fulfil his duty of worship will be affected by distress, just as he would be in case of the neglect of a minor duty toward some petty ruler. Thus, his laziness in fulfulling his obligation, despite the repeated commands of the Sovereign of Pre-Eternity, will distress him greatly, and on account of that distress will desire and say to himself: "Would that there were no such duty of worship!" In turn, there will arise from this desire a desire to deny God, and bear enmity toward Him. If some doubt concerning the existence of the Divine Being comes to his heart, he will be inclined to
  1. 23

embrace it like a conclusive proof. A wide gate to destruction will be opened in front of him. The wretch does not know that although he is delivered by denial from the slight trouble of duty of worship, he has made himself, by that same denial, the target for milions of troubles that are far more awesome. Fleeing from the bite of a gnat, he welcomes the bite of the snake.

 There are many other examples, which may be understood with reference to these three, so that the sense of,
 Nay but their hearts are stained2
 will become apparent.
 As was explained concerning the meaning of Divine Determining, known as destiny, in the Twenty-Sixth Word, men have no right to complain in the case of disasters and illness for the following three reasons: 
 First Reason: God Most High has made the garment of the body with which He has clothed man a manifestation of His art. He has made man to be a model on which He cuts, trims, alters and changes the garment of the body, thus displaying the manifestation of various of His Names. Just as the Name of Healer makes it necessary that illness should exist, so too the Name of Provider requires that hunger should exist. And so on...
 The Lord of All Dominion has disposal over His dominion as He wishes.
 Second Reason: It is by means of disasters and sicknesses that life is refined, perfected, strengthened and advanced; that it yields results, attains perfection and fulfils its own purpose. Life led monotonously on the couch of ease and comfort resembles not so much the pure good that is being, as the pure evil that is non-being; it tends in fact in that direction. 
 Third Reason: This worldly realm is the field of testing, the abode of service. It is not the place of pleasure, reward, and requital. Considering, then, that it is the abode of service and place of worship, sicknesses and misfortunes-as long as they do not affect belief and are patiently endured-conform fully to service and worship, and even strengthen it. Since they make each hour's worship equivalent to that of a day, one should offer thanks instead of complaining.
 Worship consists in fact of two kinds, positive and negative. What is meant by the positive is obvious. As for negative worship, this is when
 2. Qur'an, 83:14.
  1. 24

one afflicted with misfortune or sickness perceives his own weakness and helplessness, and turning to his Compassionate Sustainer, seeks refuge in Him, meditates upon Him, petitions Him, and thus offers a pure form of worship that no hypocrisy can penetrate. If he endures patiently, thinks of the reward attendant on misfortune and offers thanks, then each hour that he passes will count as a whole day spent in worship. His brief life becomes very long. There are even cases where a single minute is counted as equal to a whole day's worship.

 I once was extremely anxious because of an awesome illness that struck one of my brothers of the Hereafter, Muhajir Hafiz Ahmed.3 But then a warning came to my heart: "Congratulate him!" Each minute he spends is counted as a whole day's worship. He was in any event enduring his illness in patience and gratitude.
 As we have pointed out in one or two of the Words, whenever one thinks of his past life, he will say in his heart or with his tongue either "Ah!" or "Oh!" That is he will either experience regret, or say "Thanks and praise be to God." Regret is inspired by the pains arising from the cessation of former pleasures and separation from them. For the cessation of pleasure is a pain in itself. Sometimes a momentary pleasure will cause everlasting pain. To think upon it will be like lancing a wound, causing regret to gush forth.
 As for the lasting spiritual pleasure that comes from the cessation of momentary pains experienced in the past, it inspires man to exclaim, "Thanks and praise be to God!" In addition to this innate tendency of man, if he thinks of the reward that results from misfortune and the requital that awaits him in the Hereafter, if he realizes that his brief life will count as a long life because of misfortune-then instead of being merely patient he should be thankful. He should say, "Praise be to God for every state other than unbelief and misguidance."
 It is commonly said that misfortune is longlasting. Indeed it is, but not because it is troublesome and distressing as people customarily imagine, but rather because it yields vital results just like a long life.
 As was explained in the First Station of the Twenty-First Word, the power of patient endurance given to man by God Almighty is adequate to
 3. Muhajir Hafiz Ahmed was a merchant in Barla and among the first students of the Risale-i Nur. Bediuzzaman stayed in his guest-house on first arriving in Barla* in February, 1926, and he assisted Bediuzzaman for the eight and a half years he remained in Barla.(Tr.)
 *Bediüzzaman's place of exile. A small village in Isparta Province in SW Turkey. Tr.
 *Bediuzzaman's place of exile. A small village in Isparta Province in SW Turkey.(Tr)
  1. 25

every misfortune, unless squandered on baseless fears. But through the predominance of delusion, man's neglect and his imagining this transient life to be eternal, he squanders his power of endurance on the past and the future. His endurance is not equal to the misfortunes of the present, and he begins to complain. It is as if-God forbid!-he were complaining of God Almighty to men. In a most unjustified and even lunatic fashion, he complains and demonstrates his lack of patience.

 If the day that is past held misfortune, the distress is now gone, and only tranquillity remains; the pain has vanished and the pleasure in its cessation remains; the trouble is gone, and the reward remains. Hence one should not complain but give thanks for enjoyment. One should not resent misfortune, but love it. The transient life of the past comes to be counted as an eternal and blessed life because of misfortune. To think upon past pain with one's fancy and then to waste part of one's patience is lunacy.
 As far as days yet to come are concerned, since they have not yet come, to think now of the illness or misfortune to be borne during them and display impatience, is also foolishness. To say to oneself "Tomorrow or the day after I will be hungry and thirsty" and constantly to drink water and eat bread today, is pure madness. Similarly, to think of misfortunes and sicknesses yet in the future but now non-existent, to suffer them already, to show impatience and to oppress oneself without any compulsion, is such stupidity that it no longer deserves pity and compassion. 
 In short, just as gratitude increases Divine bounty, so too complaint increases misfortune, and removes all occasion for compassion.
 During World War One, a blessed person in Erzurum was afflicted with an awesome disease. I went to visit him and he said to me complaining bitterly: "I have not been able to place my head on the pillow and sleep for a hundred nights." I was much grieved. Suddenly a thought came to me and I said:
 "Brother, the hundred difficult days you have spent are now just like one hundred happy days. Do not think of them and complain; rather look at them and be grateful. As for future days, since they have not yet come, place your trust in your Compassionate and Merciful Sustainer. Do not weep before being beaten, do not be afraid of nothing, do not give non-being the colour of being. Think of the present hour; your power of patient endurance is enough for this hour. Do not act like the maddened commander who expects reinforcement on his right wing by an enemy force deserting to join him from his left, and then begins to disperse his forces in the centre to the left and the right, before the enemy has joined
  1. 26

him on the right. The enemy then destroys his centre, left weak, with a minimal force. Brother, do not be like him. Mobilize all your strength for this present hour, and think of Divine Mercy, reward in the Hereafter, and how your brief and transient life is being transformed into a long and eternal form. Instead of complaining bitterly, give joyful thanks."

 Much relieved, he said, "Praise and thanks be to God, my disease is now a tenth of what it was before."
 FIFTH POINT consisting of three matters.
 F i r s t M a t t e r : True and harmful misfortune is that which affects religion. One should at all times seek refuge at the Divine Court from misfortune in matters of religion and cry out for help. But misfortunes that do not affect religion in reality are not misfortunes. Some of them are warnings from the Most Merciful One. If a shepherd throws a stone at his sheep when they trespass on another's pasture, they understand that the stone is intended as a warning to save them from a perilous action; full of gratitude they turn back. So too there are many apparent misfortunes that are Divine warnings and admonishments, others that constitute the penance of sin; and others again that dissolve man's state of neglect, remind him of his human helplessness and weakness, thus affording him a form of tranquillity. As for the variety of misfortune that is illness, it is not at all a misfortune, as has already been said, but rather a favour from God and a means of purification. There is a tradition which says: "Just as a tree drops its ripe fruit when shaken, so too do sins fall away through the shaking of fever."4
 Job (Upon whom be peace) did not pray in his supplication for the comfort of his soul, but rather sought cure for the purpose of worship, when disease was preventing his remembrances of God with his tongue and his meditation upon God in his heart. We too should make our primary intent, when making that supplication, the healing of the inward and spiritual wounds that arise from sinning.
 As far as physical diseases are concerned, we may seek refuge from them when they hinder our worship. But we should seek refuge in a humble and supplicating fashion, not protestingly and plaintively. If we accept God as our Lord and Sustainer, then we must accept too all that He gives us in His capacity of Sustainer. To sigh and complain in a manner implying objection to Divine Determining and Decree is a kind of criticism of Divine Determining, an accusation levelled against God's compassion. The one who criticizes Divine Determining strikes his head
 4. Bukhari, Mardâ 3, 13, 16; Muslim, Birr 45; Ibn Maja, Adab 56; Darimi, Rikak 57; Musnad i, 381, 441, 455; iii, 152.
  1. 27

against the anvil and breaks it. Whoever accuses God's mercy will inevitably be deprived of it. To use a broken hand to exact revenge will only cause further damage to the hand. So too a man who, afflicted with misfortune, responds to it with protesting complaint and anxiety, is only compounding his misfortune.

 S e c o n d M a t t e r : Physical misfortunes grow when they are seen to be large, and shrink when they are seen to be small. For example, a dream enters one's vision at night. If one pays it attention it swells up and grows; if one does not, it disappears. So too if one attempts to ward off an attacking swarm of bees, they will become more aggressive; whereas if one pays them no attention they will disperse. Thus if one regards physical misfortunes as great and grants them importance, they will grow, and because of anxiety pass from the body and strike root in the heart. The result will then be an inward affliction on which the outward misfortune fastens to perpetuate itself. But if the anxiety is removed by contentment with the Divine Decree and reliance on God, the physical misfortune will gradually decrease, dry up and vanish, just like a tree whose roots have been severed. I once composed the following verses in description of this truth:
 Cry not out at misfortune, O wretch, come, trust in God!
 For know that crying out compounds the misfortune and is a great error.
 Find misfortune's Sender, and know it is a gift within gift, and pleasure.
 So leave crying out and offer thanks; like the nightingale, smile through your tears!
 If you find Him not, know the world is all pain within pain, transience and loss.
 So why lament at a small misfortune while upon you is a worldful of woe? Come, trust in God!
 Trust in God! Laugh in misfortune's face; it too will laugh.
 As it laughs, it will diminish; it will be changed and transformed.
 If in single-handed combat one smiles at an awesome enemy, his enmity will be changed to conciliatoriness; his hostility will become a mere joke, will shrink and disappear. If one confronts misfortune with reliance on God the result will be similar.
 T h i r d M a t t e r : Each age has particular characteristics. In this age of neglect misfortune has changed its form. In certain ages and for certain persons, misfortune is not in reality misfortune, but rather a
  1. 28

Divine favour. Since I consider those afflicted with illness in the present age to be fortunate-on condition that their illness does not affect their religion-it does not occur to me to oppose illness and misfortune, nor to take pity on the afflicted. Whenever I encounter some afflicted youth, I find that he is more concerned with his religious duties and the Hereafter than are his peers. From this I deduce that illness does not constitute a misfortune for such people, but rather a bounty from God. It is true that illness causes him distress in his brief, transient and worldly life, but it is beneficial for his eternal life. It is to be regarded as a kind of worship. If he were healthy he would be unable to maintain the state he enjoyed while sick and would fall into dissipation, as a result of the impetuousness of youth and the dissipated nature of the age.

 God Almighty, in order to display His infinite power and unlimited mercy, has made inherent in man infinite impotence and unlimited want. Further, in order to display the endless embroideries of His Names, He has created man like a machine capable of receiving unlimited varieties of pain, as well as infinite varieties of pleasure. Within that human machine are hundreds of instruments, each of which has different pains and pleasures, different duties and rewards. Simply, all of the Divine Names manifested in the macroanthropos that is the world also have manifestations in the microcosm that is man. Beneficial matters like good health, well-being, and pleasures cause man to offer thanks and prompt the human machine to perform its functions in many respects, and thus man becomes like a factory producing thanks.
 Similarly, by means of misfortune, illness and pain, and other motion-inducing contingencies, the other cogs of the human machine are set in motion and revolution. The mine of weakness, impotence, and poverty inherent in human nature is made to work. It induces in man a state whereby he seeks refuge and help not only with a single tongue, but with the tongue of each of his members. Thus by means of those contingencies man becomes like a moving pen comprising thousands of different pens. He inscribes the appointed course of his existence on the page of his life or the Tablet in the World of Similitudes; he puts forth a declaration of the Divine Names; and becomes himself an ode to the glory of God, thus fulfilling the duties of his nature.
 * * *
  1. 29


 [Emotion and spiritual pleasure have become mixed in this Flash to an extent, and since their exuberance does not much heed the principles of the intellect and the scales of thought nor conform to them, it should not be weighed up on the scales of logic.]
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Everything shall perish save His countenance; His is the command, and to Him shall you return.1
 The two phrases, The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One! * The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One! express the meaning of the above verse, and so too state two important truths. It is because of this that some of the chiefs of the Naqshbandi Order made themselves a special invocation with the repetition of the phrases, in the form of a concise Naqshi supplication. Seeing that the two phrases express the meaning of the above mighty verse, we shall explain several points concerning the significant truth they state.
 The first time The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One! is recited, like a surgical operation, it severs and isolates the heart from everything other than God. It is as follows:
 In respect of the comprehensiveness of his nature, man is connected with almost all beings, and in addition, a boundless capacity to love has been included in his nature. For these reasons man nurtures love towards all beings. As he loves the huge world as though it was a house, so he
 1. Qur'an, 28:88.
  1. 30

loves eternal Paradise as though it was a garden. However, the beings he loves do not stop, they depart, and he constantly suffers the pain of separation. That boundless love of his becomes the means of boundless torment.

 The fault in suffering such torment is his, for his heart's boundless capacity to love was given so that he might direct it toward One possessing an infinite undying beauty. By misusing it and spending it on transitory beings, he has done wrong and suffers the punishment for his fault through the pain of separation.
 And so, the first time he utters: "The Enduring One! He is the Enduring One!", it severs his attachment to transitory beings; he leaves those objects of love before they leave him and he is thus cleared of his fault. It declares that love is restricted to the Enduring Beloved, and expresses this meaning: "The only Truly Enduring One is You! Everything other than You is transient. One that is transient certainly cannot be the object of attachment for my heart which was created for everlasting love, for ardour lasting from pre-eternity to post-eternity. Since those innumerable beloveds are transitory and they leave me and depart, before they do so, declaring, The Enduring One, You are the Enduring One!, I shall leave them. Only You are immortal, and I know and believe that beings can only be immortal by Your making them so. In which case, they should be loved with Your love. They are not otherwise worthy of the heart's attachment."
 When in this state, man's heart gives up innumerable objects of love; seeing the stamp of transitoriness on their beauty and loveliness, it severs its attachment to them. If it does not sever it, it suffers wounds to the number of its beloveds. The second The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One! is both a salve and an antidote for those wounds. That is, "O Enduring One! Since You are Enduring, that is sufficient, You take the place of everything. Since You exist, everything exists."
 Yes, the beauty, bounty, and perfection in beings, which are the cause of love, are generally signs of the Truly Enduring One's beauty and bounty and perfections, and passing through many veils, are pale shadows of them; indeed, they are the shadows of the shadows of the manifestations of His Most Beautiful Names.
 Included in human nature is an intense love. Even, because of the power of imagination, man fancies a sort of immortality in everything he loves. Whenever he thinks of or sees their passing, he cries out from the depths of his being. All the lamentations at separation are interpretations
  1. 31

of the weeping resulting from love of immortality. If there was no imagined immortality, there would be no love. It might even be said that a reason for the existence of the eternal realm and everlasting Paradise is the intense desire for immortality arising from that passionate love of immortality, and from the innate and general prayer for immortality. The Enduring One of Glory accepted man's intense, unshakeable, innate desire and his powerful, effective, general prayer, for He created for transient man an eternal realm.

 Is it at all possible that the Munificent and Compassionate Creator would accept the insignificant wish of a tiny stomach and its supplication through the tongue of disposition for a temporary immortality through creating innumerable sorts of delicious foods, and not accept the intense desire of all human kind, which arises from an overpowering innate need, and mankind's universal, constant, rightful, just prayer for immortality, offered through word and state? God forbid, a hundred thousand times! It is not possible that He would not accept it. Not to accept it would be in keeping with neither his wisdom, nor His justice, nor His mercy, nor His power.
 Since man is most desirous of immortality, all his perfections and pleasures are dependent on immortality. And since immortality is particular to the Enduring One of Glory; and since the Enduring One's Names are enduring and immortal; and since the Enduring One's mirrors take on the hue of the Enduring One, and reflect His decree, and manifest a sort of immortality; for sure the matter most important for man, his most pressing duty, is to form a relation with that Enduring One and to adhere to His Names. For everything expended on the way of the Enduring One receives a sort of immortality. Thus, the second The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One! expresses this truth. In addition to healing man's innumerable spiritual wounds, it satisfies the intense wish for immortality in his nature.
 In this world, the effects of time on things, and on their transience and passing, differ greatly. And while beings are one within the other like concentric circles, they are different as regards the speed of their passing.
 Just as the hands of a clock counting the seconds, and those counting the minutes, hours, and days superficially resemble each other, but differ in respect to speed, so too the spheres of the body, soul, heart, and spirit in man differ from each other. For example, although the body possesses an immortality, life, and existence in the day in which it is, or even the hour, and its past and future are dead and non-existent, the sphere of
  1. 32

existence and life of the heart extend from many days previous to the present day and to many days in the future. And the sphere of the spirit is vast; the sphere of its life and existence extends from years previous to the present day to years subsequent to it.

 Thus, due to this capacity, in respect of knowledge, love, and worship of God, the Sustainer, and the pleasure of that Most Merciful One, which are the means to the life of the heart and spirit, transient life in this world comprises a perpetual life, results in an eternal life, and resembles everlasting life.
 Yes, one second on the way of love, knowledge, and pleasure of the Truly Enduring One is a year. While if it is not on His way, a year is a second. A single second, even, on His way is immortal and many years. A hundred years of the people of neglect in regard to this world are like a single second. There is the famous saying: "A moment's separation lasts a year, and a year's union passes as swiftly as a moment." I say the complete opposite to this: a moment's union for God's sake within the bounds of the Enduring One of Glory's pleasure is a window of union, not of only a year, but a permanent window. While not one year, but perhaps a thousand years spent in heedlessness and misguidance are like a second. There is a saying more famous than the previous one that corroborates this: "The broad earth with enemies is like a drinking-glass, while the eye of a needle with friends like a broad arena."
 An explicit meaning of the first well-known saying above is this: since union with transitory beings is transient, however long it is, it is brief. A year of such union is fleeting like a second, and is an illusion, a dream, causing regret and sorrow. The human heart, which desires immortality, can only receive in one year's union the tiniest pleasure within a fraction of a second. And one moment's separation is not one year, but many. For the arena of separation is broad. Even if only for a second, separation inflicts years of destruction on a heart which yearns for eternity. For it bodes of innumerable separations. While for physical and lowly loves, the past and future are filled with separations.
 In connection with this matter, we say this: O man! Do you want to make your brief and useless life immortal, long, beneficial, fruitful? Since to so want is demanded by humanity, spend your life on the way of the Truly Enduring One. For everything turned to the Enduring One receives the manifestation of immortality.
 Since everyone strongly desires a long life and yearns for immortality; and since there is a means of transforming this fleeting life into perpetual life and it is possible to make it like a long life; for sure anyone who has
  1. 33

not lost his humanity will seek out the means and try to transform the possibility into a reality and will act accordingly. Yes, the means is this: work for God's sake, meet with others for God's sake, labour for God's sake; act within the sphere of 'For God, for God's sake, on account of God.' Then all the moments of your life will become like years.

 Alluding to this truth, verses of the Qur'an point out that a single night like the Night of Power are like a thousand months, that is, around eighty years. Also indicating to this truth is 'the expansion of time', a tried principle among the people of sainthood and reality, through the mystery of which, a few minutes' Ascension become like many years and prove the existence of this truth and demonstrate it in fact. The few hours of the Ascension of the Prophet (PBUH) had the length, breadth, and comprehensiveness of thousands of years. For he entered the world of eternity by way of the Ascension, and a few minutes of that world comprise thousands of years of this world.
 In addition are the numerous occurrences of 'the expansion of time' experienced by the saints, constructed on this truth. It is related that some saints did a day's work in a single minute, some performed the duties of a year in an hour, and recited the whole Qur'an in the space of a minute. Such veracious people of truth would never knowingly stoop to lying. There can be no doubt that they observed exactly the fact of 'the expansion of time',2 which is thus numerously and unanimously reported.
 A sort of the expansion of time confirmed by everyone is experienced in dreams. Sometimes a day in the waking world, or many days, would be necessary to experience the happenings, words, pleasures, and pains experienced in a minute's dream.
 I n S h o r t : For sure man is transitory, but he was created for immortality, and as the mirror to an Enduring One, and he was charged with duties which produce enduring fruits, and was given a form which is the means to manifesting the impresses of an Enduring One's enduring Names. In which case, the true duty and happiness of man is to cling with all his powers and faculties to the Names of that Eternally Enduring One within the bounds of those things that please Him; it is to be turned towards the Enduring One, and to go to Him. As his tongue utters "the Enduring One, You are the Enduring One!," so his heart, spirit, mind, and all his subtle faculties should declare: 
 2. The verses, Said one of them: "How long have we stayed [here]?" They said, "We have stayed [perhaps] a day, or part of a day." (18:19), and, So they stayed in their cave three hundred years, and [some] add nine [more]. (18:25) point to the traversing of time, while the verse, Verily a day in the sight of your Sustainer is like a thousand years of your reckoning (22:47) points to the expansion of time.
  1. 34
 "He is the Enduring One! He is the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal! He is the Everlasting One! He is the Perpetual One! He is the One Who is Sought! He is the Beloved! He is the One Wished For, the One Worshipped!"
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise!3
 O our Sustainer! Do not take us to task if we forget or do wrong.4
 * * *
 3. Qur'an, 2:32.
 4. Qur'an, 2:282.
  1. 35


 The title: 'The Highway of the Practices of the Prophet' was considered appropriate for this treatise.
 [Although the 'Imamate Question' is a matter of secondary importance, since it has been given excessive importance, and because of its relevance to our basic duties towards the Qur'an and belief, it is in part discussed here in regard to this and to its being a subject considered in the sciences of theology (kalâm) and the principles of religion.]
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Now has come a prophet from among yourselves; it heavily weighs upon him that you might suffer; full of concern is he for you, and full of compassion and mercy towards the believers. * But if they turn away, say: God is enough for me, there is no god but He. In Him have I placed my trust, for He is the Sustainer of the Mighty Throne.1 * Say: I ask no recompense of you save love of close kin.2
 We shall point out in two 'Stations' two of the many vast truths contained in these glorious verses.
 First Station
 The First Station consists of four 'Points.'
 This describes the Most Noble Prophet's (Peace and blessings be upon him) perfect compassion and mercy towards his Community. According to sound narrations, when at the terror of the Resurrection everyone, and 
 1. Qur'an, 9:128-9.
 2. Qur'an, 42:23.
  1. 36
 even the prophets, will cry out for themselves, the Most Noble Prophet will demonstrate his pity and compassion by calling out: "My Community! My Community!"3 Like, as affirmed by those who uncover the mysteries of creation, when he was born, his mother heard among his supplications the words: "My Community! My Community!" Also, the whole history of his life, as well as the kind and compassionate conduct which he propagated demonstrate his perfect compassion and clemency. So too through displaying an infinite need for the innumerable prayers of his Community, he showed a boundless compassion; for he showed that out of his perfect compassion he was concerned with the happiness of all of them. Thus, you can understand how lacking in gratitude and conscience it is not to observe the Practices of so kind and compassionate a leader. 
 Among the universal and general duties of his prophethood, the Most Noble Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) displayed great compassion in certain particular, minor matters. Superficially, his expending great compassion on such matters seems inappropriate to the supreme importance of the function of prophethood. But in reality minor matters such as those were the tips or samples of a chain which could be the means to the fulfilment of a universal and general function of prophethood. Therefore the greatest importance was given to the sample for the sake of the mighty chain.
 For example, the extraordinary compassion the Most Noble Prophet (PBUH) showed towards Hasan and Husain in their childhood and the great importance he gave them was not only due to love arising from natural kindness and family feeling, it was rather because they were each the tip of a luminous thread of the function of prophethood, and the source, sample, and index of a community of great consequence which would receive the legacy of prophethood.
 Indeed, the Most Noble Prophet (PBUH) used to take Hasan (May God be pleased with him) tenderly into his arms and kiss his head for the sake of the luminous, blessed, Mahdi-like descendants who would spring from him, like Shah Geylani, Ghawth al-A'zam,4 who would be the inheritors of prophethood and would bear the sacred Shari'a of Muhammad. He saw with the eye of prophethood the sacred service and duty they would perform in the future, and approved and applauded them. He kissed Hasan's head as a sign of approval and encouragement.
 3. Bukhari, Tawhid 36, Tafsir 17, Sura 5, Fitan 1; Muslim, Iman 326, 327; Tirmidhi, Qiyama 10; Darimi, Muqaddima 8.
 4. Abdu'l-Qadir Gilani d. 561/1165-6. Founder of the Qadiri Order.(Tr.)
  1. 37
 Also, he embraced Husain and showed him great importance and tenderness on account of the illustrious Imams like Zaynu'l-Abidin and Ja'far al-Sadiq, and the numerous Mahdi-like luminous persons, true inheritors of prophethood, who would spring from his effulgent line, and for the sake of the religion of Islam and functions of prophethood. 
 Since with his heart which had knowledge of the Unseen, the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) luminous vision and future-penetrating eye observed from the Era of Bliss in this world the Assembly of the Resurrection on the side of post-eternity, and from the earth saw Paradise, and watched events which had occurred since the time of Adam and were concealed in the dark veils of the past, and even received the vision of the All-Glorious One, he surely saw the spiritual poles and the Imams, who were the inheritors of prophethood, and the Mahdis, who would follow on in the lines of Hasan and Husain. And for sure he would kiss their heads in the name of all of them. Yes, Shah Geylani has a large part in his kissing Hasan's head.
 According to one interpretation, the meaning of the verse: 
 Say: I ask of you no recompense save love of close kin5 
 is that "the Most Noble Prophet (PBUH) wants no reward for carrying out the duty of prophethood; he wants only love for his family."
 I f i t i s s a i d : "According to this meaning, it seems there is an advantage to be gained from a family relationship. Whereas, according to the meaning of: 
 The most honoured of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you,6 
 it is not in regard to family relationships that prophethood functions, but in regard to closeness to God,"
 T h e A n s w e r : With his vision which penetrated the Unseen, the Most Noble Prophet (PBUH) saw that his Family would become like a light-giving tree within the world of Islam. The overwhelming majority of those who would perform the duty of guides instructing every level of the World of Islam in human attainment and perfection would emerge from his Family. He divined that his Community's prayer for his Family in the final section of the prescribed prayers: O God, grant blessings to our master Muhammad and to the Family of our master Muhammad, as You granted blessings to Abraham and to the Family of Abraham;
 5. Qur'an, 42:23.
 6. Qur'an, 49:13. 
  1. 38
 indeed, You are Worthy of Praise, Most Exalted would be accepted. That is to say, like the vast majority of the luminous guides among the people of Abraham were prophets of the family and line of Abraham, he saw in his Community also, the spiritual poles of the Family of Muhammad performing the great duties of Islam, and in most of the paths and Sufi orders, like the prophets of Israel. Therefore, being commanded to say: Say: I ask of you no recompense save love of close kin, he wanted his Community to love his Family.
 There are numerous narrations corroborating this fact. He repeatedly decreed: "I leave you two things. If you adhere to them, you will find salvation: one is God's Book, the other is my Family."7 For those who were the source and guardians of the Prophet's Practices, and were charged with complying with them in every respect, were his Family.
 Thus, this is why this truth was made known in Hadiths under the heading of following the Book and the Prophet's Practices. That is to say, what was required from the Family of the Prophet in respect of the function of prophethood were the Practices of the Prophet. Just as someone who abandoned the Prophet's Practices could not truly be a member of his Family, so too such a person could not be a true friend to them.
 Also, the reason he desired his Community to gather round his Family was that, with God's permission, he knew his Family were going to become very numerous with the passing of time, and that Islam was going to become weak. Therefore an extremely strong and numerous mutually supportive group of people was necessary so that it could be the means to and centre for the spiritual and moral progress of the World of Islam. With Divine permission, he thought of this, and desired that his Community should gather round his Family.
 Indeed, even if the members of the Prophet's Family were not greatly in advance of others in matters of belief and faith, they were still greatly ahead of them in regard to submission, partiality, and partisanship. For they were followers of Islam by nature, birth, and temperament. Even if natural partiality is weak and unworthy, or unjustifiable even, it cannot be given up. So, would it be possible for a person to give up his support for a truth to which all his forefathers-who were most strong, most constant and true, and most illustrious-had been bound, and through which they had won glory, and for which they had sacrificed their lives, a truth he felt clearly to be so fundamental and natural? Thus, due to this intense partiality and natural submission, the Family of the Prophet accepted the
 7. Tirmidhi, Manaqib 31; Musnad iii, 14, 17, 26.
  1. 39
 least hint in favour of the religion of Islam as though it was a powerful proof. For they were partial by nature. Others become partial after some powerful proof.
 In connection with the Third Point, we shall indicate briefly a matter which is a point of dispute between the Shi'a and the Sunnis and has been magnified to such an extent that it has entered the books on the tenets of faith and among the fundamentals of belief.
 T h e S u n n i s s a y : "Ali (May God be pleased with him) was the fourth of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. Abu Bakr 'al-Siddiq' (May God be pleased with him) was superior to him and was more deserving of the Caliphate, therefore it passed to him first." While the Shi'a say: "It was Ali's right. An injustice was done to him. The most worthy of them all was Ali." A summary of the arguments for their claims is this. They say: "The Hadiths of the Prophet about Ali, and through his title of 'King of Sainthood,' his being the source for the vast majority of the saints and spiritual paths, and his extraordinary knowledge, courage, and worship, and the Prophet's (Peace and blessings be upon him) intense concern for him and towards his descendants all show that it was he who was the most worthy. The Caliphate was always his right; it was seized from him."
 T h e A n s w e r : The fact that Ali (May God be pleased with him) followed the first three Caliphs, whom he repeatedly acknowledged, and held the position of their Shaykhu'l-Islam, refutes these claims of the Shi'a. Furthermore, the victories of Islam and the struggles against its enemies in the time of the first three Caliphs and the events in Ali's time, refute the Shi'a's claims, again from the point of view of the Islamic Caliphate. That is to say the Sunnis' claim is rightful.
 I f i t i s s a i d that the Shi'a are two: one are the 'Sainthood Shi'a,' and the other are the 'Caliphate Shi'a.' Through mixing hatred and politics the second group may have been unjust, but the first group were not concerned with resentment and politics. However, the Sainthood Shi'a joined the Caliphate Shi'a. That is, some of the saints of the Sufi orders considered Ali to be superior and they endorsed the claims of the Caliphate Shi'a.
 T h e A n s w e r : It is necessary to consider Ali (May God be pleased with him) in two respects. One is from the point of view of his personal perfections and rank, and the second is from the point of view of his representing the collective personality of the Prophet's Family. As for
  1. 40
 this collective personality, it displays an aspect of the Most Noble Prophet's (PBUH) essential nature.
 And so, in regard to the first point, foremost Ali himself and all the people of truth gave precedence to Abu Bakr and Umar. They saw their ranks as higher in the service of Islam and closeness to God. As for the second point, in respect of being the representative of the collective personality of the Prophet's Family and the collective personality of the Prophet's Family representing an aspect of the Muhammadan Truth, Ali has no equal. Thus, the highly laudatory Hadiths about Ali look to this second point. There is a sound narration which corroborates this fact. The Most Noble Prophet (PBUH) decreed: "The descendants of each prophet are from himself. My descendants are those of Ali."8
 The reason the Hadiths praising Ali more than the other three Caliphs have become so widespread is that the People of Truth, that is, the Sunnis, spread many narrations about him in response to the Umayyads and Kharijites attacking and disparaging him unjustly. Since the other Rightly-Guided Caliphs were not subject to such criticism and detraction, no need was felt to spread Hadiths about them.
 Furthermore, the Prophet (PBUH) saw with the eye of prophethood the grievous events and internal strife to which Ali would be exposed in the future, and in order to save him from despair and his Community from thinking unfavourably of him, he consoled him and guided his Community with important Hadiths like "Whosever master I am, Ali too is his master."9
 The excessive love of the Sainthood Shi'a towards Ali (May God be pleased with him) and-influenced by the Sufi Orders-their deeming him superior cannot make them answerable to the degree of the Caliphate Shi'a. For by reason of their way, those who follow the path of sainthood look towards their spiritual guides with love. And the mark of love is excess, it wants to see the beloved as greater than his rank. And that is how it sees him. Ecstatics may be forgiven excesses of love. So on condition their deeming Ali more worthy, which arises from their love, does not turn into disparagement of and enmity towards the other Rightly-Guided Caliphs and does not go beyond the fundamental teachings of Islam, it may be excused.
 8. Tabarani, al-Majma'u'l-Kabir no:2630; al-Haythami, Majma'u'z-Zawa'id x, 333; al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir 223, no:1717.
 9. Tirmidhi, Manaqib 19; Ibn Maja, Muqaddima 11; Musnad i, 84, 118, 119, 152, 331; iv, 281, 368, 370, 383; v, 347, 366, 419; al-Kattani, Nazmu'l-Mutanasir fi'l-Ahadithi'l-Mutawatir 24; al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir vi, 218; Ibn Hibban, Sahih ix, 42; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak ii, 130; iii, 134.
  1. 41
 As for the Caliphate Shi'a, since political prejudice took a hold of them, they could not be saved from hatred and aggression, and they lost their right to be excused. Even, confirming the saying, Not for love of Ali, but out of hatred of Umar, since Persian national pride was wounded at Umar's hand, they demonstrated their revenge in the form of love of Ali. So also Amr b. al-As's rebellion against Ali and Umar b. al-Sa'd's tragic war against Husain aroused in the Shi'a an intense anger and enmity towards the name of Umar.
 The Sainthood Shi'a have no right to criticize the Sunnis, for the Sunnis have not decried Ali, indeed, they love him sincerely. But they avoid the excessive love which is described as dangerous in Hadiths. The Prophet's praise of Ali's followers in the Hadiths refers to the Sunnis. For those of Ali's followers who love him in a moderate fashion are the Sunnis, who are the People of Truth. As excessive love of Jesus (Upon whom be peace) is dangerous for Christians, so has it been made clear in sound Hadiths that that sort of excessive love for Ali is dangerous.10
 I f t h e S a i n t h o o d S h i ' a s a y : "Once Ali's consummate spiritual attainments are accepted, it is not possible to prefer Abu Bakr the Truthful to him,"
 T h e r e p l y : It was as though the personal perfections of Abu Bakr 'Siddiq al-Akbar' and Umar 'Faruq al-A'zam' (May God be pleased with them) had been placed in the pan of some scales together with their achievements in the time of their Caliphates, realized through their carrying out the functions inherited from prophethood, and in the other pan had been placed Ali's (May God be pleased with him) extraordinary personal perfections together with the internal Caliphate struggles, which arose from the tragic events he was compelled to enter upon and were the object of suspicion and distrust, and the Sunnis saw that al-Siddiq's, or al-Faruq's, or Dhi'l-Nurayn's pan weighed heavier, and so they preferred them.
 Moreover, as is proved in the Twelth and Twenty-Fourth Words, prophethood is so elevated in comparison to sainthood that a tiny manifestation of it is superior to a large manifestation of sainthood. In regard to this, the successes of Siddiq al-Akbar and Faruq al-A'zam during their Caliphates became an indication for the Sunnis that their share in the legacy of prophethood and the establishment of its laws had been divinely bestowed. Since Ali's personal perfections did not dismiss that greater share, which arose from the inheritance of prophethood, he acted as Shaykhu'l-Islam for Abu Bakr and Umar, the Shaykhayn al-Mukarramayn, 
 10. Bukhari, Tarikhu'l-Kabir ii, 257; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Fada'ilu's-Sahaba nos: 1087, 1221, 1222; al-Haythami, Majma'u'z-Zawa'id ix, 133; Ibnu'l-Jawzi, al-Ilali'l-Mutanahiya i, 223.
  1. 42
 in the time of their Caliphates, and esteemed them. How should the Sunnis, who love and revere Ali, not love and revere the Shaykhayn, whom Ali loved and revered sincerely? Let us make this truth clear be means of an example:
 One of the sons of a very rich man is given twenty batmans11 of silver and four batmans of gold from his father's legacy, and another is given five of silver and five of gold. So if the third is given three of silver and five of gold, of course the last two will receive less in quantity, but more in quality. Like this example, the lesser amount of the Shaykhayn's share of the gold of the truth of 'Divine immediacy,' which was manifested in the legacy of prophethood and the establishment of its laws, would weigh heavier than the great amount of 'Divine proximity' and the perfections of sainthood which sprang from the jewel of sainthood. These points should also be taken into account when weighing them up. But if they are compared with one another from the point of view of personal courage, knowledge, and sainthood, the matter takes on another complexion.
 Also, there can be no comparison in respect of the collective personality of the Prophet's Family, which was represented in the person of Ali (May God be pleased with him), and of the Muhammadan Truth, which was manifested in that collective personality through the absolute legacy of prophethood. For contained in it is the mighty mystery of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him).
 As for the Caliphate Shi'a, they have no rights before the Sunnis other than shame. For although they claim to have tremendous love for Ali, they disparage him, and their creed necessitates accusing him of immorality. For they say that although Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and Umar were acting unjustly, Ali feigned approval for them; according to Shi'i terminology, he dissimulated. That is, he was frightened of them and behaved hypocritically. But it is not love to see someone who was such a hero of Islam, won the title 'Lion of Allah,' and was the commander and guide of the faithful as simulating love for people he did not love out of fear and deception, as feigning approval for them in fear for more than twenty years, and as following wrongdoers. Ali (May God be pleased with him) would disclaim love that sort.
 Thus, the People of Truth's creed in no way disparages Ali, nor levels accusations of immorality at him. It does not attribute cowardice to such a remarkable courage, but says: "If Ali had not considered the Rightly-Guided Caliphs to be right, he would not have recognized them for a minute, nor obeyed them. It means that since he thought them right and preferable, he surrendered his endeavour and courage on the way of justice."
 11. Batman: a weight varying from 5-30 lbs. (Tr.)
  1. 43
 I n S h o r t : Too much or too little of anything is not good. Moderation is the middle way, and that is the way the Sunnis have chosen. But, alas, like Kharijite ideas have infiltrated the Sunnis to an extent, so also addicts of politics and some atheists criticize Ali. They say, God forbid, that since he did not understand politics, he was not entirely worthy of the Caliphate and could not govern. And because of these unjust accusations of theirs, Alawis feel affronted at the Sunnis. Whereas the principles and basic beliefs of the Sunnis do not necessitate these ideas. Indeed, they prove the opposite. The Sunnis cannot be condemned because of ideas such as those which come from Kharijites and atheists. Rather, the Sunnis are firmer followers of Ali than the Alawis. They mention Ali in the laudatory fashion he deserves in all their khutbas and prayers. Particularly the saints and purified scholars, the vast majority of whom were of the Sunni school, recognized him as spiritual guide and the king of sainthood. The Alawis should ignore the Kharijites and atheists who have deservedly earned the enmity of both the Alawis and the Sunnis, and not take sides against the People of Truth. Some Alawis even abandon the Prophet's Sunna out of spite for the Sunnis. Anyway, we have said too much on this matter, for it has been discussed to excess by the religious scholars.
 And so, O Sunnis, who are the People of Truth, and Alawis, whose way is love of the Prophet's Family! Quickly put an end to this meaningless, disloyal, unjust, and harmful dispute between you. Otherwise the atheistic current which is now so influential will make one of you a tool against the other, and use the one to crush the other. And after defeating the one it will destroy the tool. Since you are believers in Divine Unity, it is essential to leave aside unimportant matters which necessitate division while there are a hundred fundamental sacred bonds between you which command brotherhood and unity.
 * * *
 Second Station
 The Second Station will be about the second truth of the verse,
 But if they turn away, say: "God suffices me, there is no god but He; in Him do I place my trust-He the Sustainer of the Throne [of Glory] Supreme!"1,2
 1. Qur'an, 9:129.
 2. The Second Station was designated as the Eleventh Flash.
  1. 44


 A treatise was intended to explain in fifteen degrees a most important truth of the verse, For us God suffices, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs,1,2 but since it would have been concerned more with reflective thought and remembrance of God than with reality and intellectual knowledge, it has been postponed for now. In fact, the important treatise called 'The Stairway of the Practices of the Prophet and Antidote for the Sickness of Innovation' was initially known as the Fifth Flash, but being divided into eleven important Points, it became the Eleventh Flash, and the Fifth Flash remained unoccupied.
 * * *


 Again, there was to have been a treatise explaining in twenty-five degrees of reflective thought the important truth stated in numerous verses of the Qur'an and expressed by the phrase: There is no power and strength save through God, the Exalted, the Mighty.3 Like the Fifth Flash, this too formed degrees I had felt in myself and observed through reflection and remembrance of God in my journeying of the spirit, and therefore, since it was the means to illumination and spiritual pleasure more than intellectual knowledge and reality, it was considered appropriate to include it at the end of the Flashes-which are about reality, rather than among them. 
 * * *
 1. Qur'an, 3:173.
 2, 3. Our Master, Hazret-i Ustad, said in explanation of these two phrases in the footnote of the Sixth Chapter of the Twenty-Ninth Flash, which is in Arabic: "The degrees of these two phrases were written in Arabic because they are reflection and remembrance of God rather than intellectual knowledge..... " The Fourth Ray, called 'Hasbiye Risalesi', about the verse For us God suffices, and he is the Best Disposer of Affairs, was written subsequently in Turkish. 
 Signed, Ustad Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's Students.
  1. 45


 [This is about the seven sorts of predictions concerning the Unseen at the end of Sura al-Fath.]
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Truly did God fulfil the vision for His Prophet: You shall enter the Sacred Mosque, if God wills, with minds secure, heads shaved, hair cut short, and without fear. For He knew what you knew not, and He granted besides this, a victory soon to come. * It is He Who sent His Prophet with guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion, and enough is God for a Witness. * Muhammad is the Prophet of God; and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers, [but] compassionate among each other. You will see them bow and prostrate themselves [in prayer], seeking grace from God and [His] good pleasure. On their faces are their marks, [being] the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Torah; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, [filling] the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the unbelievers with rage at them. God has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great reward.1
 These three verses from Sura al-Fath contain many aspects of miraculousness. Of the ten universal aspects of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition's miraculousness, the aspect of its giving news of the Unseen may be seen in seven or eight ways in these three verses.
 1. Qur'an, 48:27-9.
  1. 46
 Truly did God fulfil the vision for His Prophet, to the end of the verse, gave certain news of the conquest of Mecca before it happened. It occurred two years later just as predicted.
 And He granted besides this, a victory soon to come, states the following: for sure the Peace of Hudaybiya was apparently opposed to the interests of Islam and the Quraish were victorious to an extent, but it is giving news that in reality it would be a great victory and the key to further conquests. For although with the Peace of Hudaybiya the physical sword was temporarily hung up, the flashing diamond sword of the Qur'an was unsheathed, and it conquered minds and hearts. Through the truce, the two sides mixed with one another. The virtues of Islam and lights of the Qur'an rent the veils of obduracy and tribalism, and enacted their decrees. For example, people like Khalid b. Walid, a brilliant warrior, and Amr b. al-As, a brilliant politician, who could not accept defeat, were defeated by the Qur'anic sword manifested through the Truce of Hudaybiya. After submitting in perfect obedience to Islam in Medina, Khalid became a "Sword of Allah"; a sword in the conquests of Islam.
 A n I m p o r t a n t Q u e s t i o n : What was the wisdom in the defeats of the Companions of the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), the Glory of the World and Beloved of the Sustainer of All the Worlds, against the idolators at the end of Uhud and beginning of Hunayn?
 T h e A n s w e r : Among the idolators were many persons like Khalid who in the future would be equal to the leading Companions of that time. Therefore, so as not to degrade them entirely in the view of the future, which for them would be glorious and honourable, Divine wisdom gave them in the past immediate recompense for their future good works and did not completely destroy their pride. That is to say, the Companions of the past were defeated by the Companions of the future, so that the future Companions would enter Islam, not through fear of the flashing sword, but through zeal for the flash of truth, and so that they and their natural valour should not be brought low.
 The words, and without fear tell this: "You shall circumambulate the Ka'ba in complete safety." However at that time the majority of the nomadic peoples of the Arabian Peninsula were hostile, and most of the environs of Mecca and the tribe of Quraish, enemies. Through predicting
  1. 47
 that "Soon you shall circumambulate the Ka'ba without fear," it was indicating and foretelling that the Arabian Peninsula would submit and all the Quraish enter Islam and total security be established. And it all occurred exactly as predicted.
 He it is Who sent His Prophet with guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion predicts with complete certainty that "the religion which the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) brought would triumph over all religions." However at that time Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism had hundreds of millions of adherents and were the official religions of world-dominant states like Rome, China, and Persia, which had hundreds of millions of subjects, and Muhammad the Arabian was unable to subdue his own small tribe even. And yet it is foretelling that the religion he brought would triumph over all religions and be victorious over all states. And it does this in most clear and definite manner. The future confirmed this prediction, with the sword of Islam extending from the Pacific Ocean in the East to the Atlantic Ocean in the West.
 Muhammad is the Prophet of God, and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers, [but] compassionate among each other. You will see them bow and prostrate themselves.... Through telling of the elevated qualities and characteristics which were the reason for the Companions being the most elevated of human kind after the prophets, the start of this verse describes through its explicit meaning the excellent qualities which would mark the class of the Companions. And through its implied meaning, the verse alludes to the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, who would succeed to the office of the Prophet (PBUH) after his death through the institution of the Caliphate, and gives news of the fine attributes which were what most distinguished each of them and marked them out. It is as follows:
 And those who are with him alludes to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, who was distinguished and famous for being among the Prophet's special followers and party to his conversation, and again for entering among his special followers by being the first to die. While are strong against the unbelievers points to Umar, who in the future would cause the countries of the globe to tremble at his conquests, and with his justice would descend on tyrants like a thunderbolt. And compassionate among each other gives news of Uthman, who, in the future when the most serious dissension was
  1. 48

being fomented, would sacrifice his own life and spirit out of perfect kindness and compassion so that the blood of Muslims should not be spilt, preferring to be martyred wrongfully while reading the Qur'an. And so too, You will see them bow and prostrate themselves [in prayer], seeking grace from God and [His] good pleasure tells that with his complete worthiness to undertake the Caliphate and government, and his heroism, and his choosing perfect asceticism, worship, poverty, and frugality, and whose bowing and prostrating in prayer was corroborated by everyone, Ali (May God be pleased with him) was not responsible for his position in the future and the wars and strife in which he was involved, and that his intention and wish was for Divine favour.

 The phrase, This is their similitude in the Torah makes predictions concerning the Unseen in two respects:
 T h e F i r s t : It gives news of the qualities of the Companions mentioned in the Torah, which was as though the Unseen for an unlettered person like the Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace). Yes, as described in the Nineteenth Letter, in the Torah are the following lines about the Companions of the Prophet who was to come at the end of time: "The standards of the holy ones are together with them." That is, his Companions would be pious worshippers, righteous, and saints, so that they were described with the term "the holy ones," that is, "sacred." Although the Torah has been corrupted through being translated into numerous languages, it corroborates with many of its verses the statement of Sura al-Fath, This is their similitude in the Torah.
 T h e S e c o n d aspect of it giving news of the Unseen is this: with the phrase This is their similitude in the Torah, it is predicting that "The Companions and the generation that followed them would achieve such a degree of worship that the luminosity of their spirits would shine in their faces, and that marks would be apparent on their foreheads, like a sort of stamp of sainthood, caused by their repeated prostrations." And indeed the future proved this brilliantly, with complete clarity and certainty. Numerous important persons within that strange dissension and political upheaval demonstrated the mystery of This is their similitude in the Torah, who day and night performed prayers of a thousand rakats like Zaynu'l-Abidin, and performed the morning prayer with the ablutions of the prayers of the previous evening, like Tavus al-Yamani.
  1. 49
 The sentence, and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, [filling] the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the unbelievers with rage at them, gives news of the Unseen in two respects:
 T h e F i r s t is the prediction concerning the Companions in the Gospel, which was like the Unseen for the unlettered Prophet (PBUH).
 Yes, in the Gospels are verses like, With him is a staff of iron, and his community is like him2 describing the Prophet who was to come at the end of time. That is, a Prophet would come who would not be unarmed like Jesus (UWP), but would bear a sword, and be charged with waging jihad, and his Companions too would carry swords and be charged with jihad. The one bearing the "staff of iron" would be the Ruler of the World. For in one place in the Gospels it says: "I am going so the Ruler of the World may come." That is to say, the Ruler of the World is coming. It is thus understood from these two verses of the Gospels that at the start the Companions would appear to be few and weak, nevertheless they would burgeon like seeds, grow, thicken, and find strength. When they were about to be overwhelmed and smothered by the rage that this would cause the unbelievers, they would subjugate mankind with their swords and prove that the Prophet (PBUH), their leader, was the Ruler of the World. The verses express exactly the meaning of the above verses of Sura al-Fath.
 S e c o n d A s p e c t : These sentences predict the following: the Companions certainly accepted the Pact of Hudaybiya out of their weakness and small number, but within a short time they so grew and acquired such strength and loftiness that, planted by the Hand of Power in the field of the face of the earth, they multiplied in most elevated, powerful, fruitful, and plentiful fashion. Especially in relation to the shoots of mankind at that time, which were short, weak, defective, and scant due to neglect and heedlessness. They would grow strong and cause glorious states to rage at them in envy, jealousy, and anger. Yes, the future verified this prediction in most brilliant fashion.
 There is in this prediction the further following slight hint: it indicates through the word forgiveness that, although while praising the Companions' excellent qualities they should have been promised the greatest rewards, in the future serious faults would arise among the Companions
 2. Nabhani, Hujjatu'llahi ala'l-Alamin 99, 114.
  1. 50

due to strife. For forgiveness indicates the existence of faults. And at that time the thing most demanded by the Companions, the greatest bounty, would be forgiveness. The greatest reward would be absence of punishment, due to forgiveness. Just as the word forgiveness makes this subtle allusion, so too it is connected with the verse at the beginning of the Sura, That God may forgive you your faults of the past and those to follow.3 Through giving the good news of forgiveness at the start of the Sura for not true sins, because the Prophet is exempt from sin and does not commit them, but forgiveness for a meaning in keeping with the rank of prophethood, and giving the good news of forgiveness for the Companions at the end of the Sura, it adds a further subtlety to the allusion.

 Of the ten aspects of miraculousness contained in the above-mentioned three verses at the end of Sura al-Fath, we have discussed here only the aspect of predictions concerning the Unseen, and of the numerous aspects of that aspect, only seven aspects. At the end of the Twenty-Sixth Word, which is about Divine Determining and man's faculty of will, a significant flash of miraculousness is pointed out in the position of the letters of the last verse. Like this last verse looks to the Companions with its sentences, so does it look to their situations with its phrases. And like it describes their attributes with its words, so too with its letters, and with the repetition of the number of letters, does it allude to classes of famous Companions like the Companions of Badr, of Uhud, of Hunayn, of the Bench, and of Ridwan. And so does it also express many further mysteries through 'coincidences' (tawafuqat) and abjad reckoning, which are branches of the science of jafr, and keys to it.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.4
 * * *
 3. Qur'an, 48:2.
 4. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 51
 [In connection with the predictions concerning the Unseen indicated by the 'allusive meanings' of the verses at the end of Sura al-Fath, similar predictions in the following verses, also through their allusive meanings, will here be briefly discussed.]
 And We should have shown them the Straight Way. * All who obey God and the Prophet are in the company of those on whom is the grace of God-of the Prophets, the Veracious, the Witnesses [or Martyrs], and the Righteous: And how goodly a company are these!1
 We shall point out two of the thousands of fine points expounding these verses.
 As the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition expresses truths through its explicit, clear meanings and senses, so it expresses many allusive meanings through its styles and forms. Each of its verses contains numerous levels of meanings. Since the Qur'an proceeds from all-encompassing knowledge, all its meanings may be intended. It cannot be restricted to one or two meanings like man's speech, the product of his limited mind and individual will.
 It is because of this that innumerable truths contained in the Qur'an's verses have been expounded by Qur'anic commentators, and there are many more which have not been expounded by them. In addition to its explicit meanings, there is much significant knowledge contained in its letters in particular and in its allusions.
 Through the terms, 
 of the Prophets, the Veracious, the Witnesses [or martyrs], and the Righteous: And how goodly a company are these!,
 this verse describes the people of the Straight Path and the groups of the Prophets, the caravan of the Veracious, the community of the Martyrs, the class of the Righteous, and those who follow them, who are those among mankind who truly receive the Divine bounties, and furthermore, explicitly pointing out the most perfect of those five groups in the World
 1. Qur'an, 4:68-9.
  1. 52

of Islam, it then indicates the leaders and chiefs of those five groups through mentioning their well-known attributes. In addition, with a flash of miraculousness giving news of the Unseen, it specifies in one respect those chiefs' positions in the future.

 Yes, of the Prophets looks explicitly to the Prophet Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and the phrase the Veracious looks to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (the Veracious). It also indicates that he would be second after the Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and first to succeed to his place, and be known with the special title of 'Siddiq,' and be seen at the head of all the veracious. Then the Witnesses [or Martyrs] mentions Umar, Uthman, and Ali (May God be pleased with all of them) together. It indicates indirectly that the three of them would succeed to the Caliphate of the Prophet after 'al-Siddiq,' that the three of them would be martyred, and the merits of martyrdom added to their other virtues.
 The Righteous alludes to distinguished persons like the Companions of the Bench, and of Badr and Ridwan. While the explicit meaning of And how goodly a company are these! encourages others to follow them, and its implicit meaning, through showing the generation that succeeded them to be honoured and illustrious, alludes to Hasan (May God be pleased with him), who as the fifth Caliph affirmed the Hadith "After me the Caliphate will last thirty years2-in order to show its great value despite its brief duration.
 I n S h o r t : Like the verses at the end of Sura al-Fath look to the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, corroborating this, these verses look in partial and allusive manner to their future positions in a way that predicted the Unseen. The flashes of this sort of miraculousness which gives news of the Unseen, which is one sort of the Qur'an's miraculousness, are so numerous as to be incalculable. Externalist scholars restricting them to forty or fifty verses is due to their superficial view. In reality they number more than a thousand. Sometimes there are four or five aspects giving news of the Unseen in a single verse.
 O our Sustainer! Do not take us to task if we forget or do wrong.3
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.4
 * * *
 2. Tirmidhi, Fitan 48; Musnad v, 220. 221; al-Albani, Sahihu Jami'u's-Saghir no: 3336.
 3. Qur'an, 2:286.
 4. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 53
 In addition to corroborating the predictions concerning the Unseen at the end of Sura al-Fath, the verse,
 All..... are in the company of those on whom is the grace of God-of the Prophets, the Veracious, the Witnesses, and the Righteous: how goodly a company are these!2 
 also elucidates what is meant by the people of the Straight Path and the verse the path of those whom you have blessed3 and describes the luminous, familiar, attractive large caravan travelling the lengthy road leading to eternity, and in concise and urgent manner urges the believers and the conscious to join, follow, and accompany the caravan. In addition to its explicit meaning, like the verses at the end of Sura al-Fath, this verse indicates through allusive and figurative meanings-called in rhetoric ma'aridu'l-kalâm and mustatba'at u't-tarâkib-the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs and Hasan (May God be pleased with him), the fifth Caliph. It gives news of the Unseen in several respects, as follows:
 Just as the above verse states through its explicit meaning that the caravan of the Prophets, the group of the Veracious, the community of the Martyrs and Witnesses, the category of the Righteous, and the class of the generation following the Companions are the people of the Straight Path and those among mankind who receive elevated Divine bounties, and are 'the doers of good', so too it indicates in a manner predicting the Unseen that the best and most excellent of those groups are found in the World of Islam, like this: it points to the heirs of the Prophets who follow on in succession through the mystery of the legacy of the prophethood of the Messenger of the end of time, and to the caravan of the Veracious who follow on from the source of veraciousness of the Most Veracious One, and to the convoy of the Martyrs, who are bound through the rank of martyrdom to three of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, and to the community of the Righteous, who are tied to it through the mystery of And those who believe and do good works,4 and the categories of the generation following the Companions, who represented the mystery of Say: If you do love God, follow me: God will love you and forgive you your sins; for God is 
 1. My brothers have written down both explanations, since they found them useful. Otherwise one of them would have been sufficient.
 2. Qur'an, 4:69.
 3. Qur'an, 1:5.
 4. Qur'an, 2:82, etc
  1. 54

Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful5 and were in the company of the Companions and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. So too, through its allusive meaning, it gives news through the term and the Veracious that Abu Bakr the Veracious would succeed to the Noble Prophet's (Upon whom be blessings and peace) position after him, and would be Caliph, famous among the Muslim Community with the title Siddiq (Veracious), and be the chief of the caravan of the Veracious. With the phrase the Martyrs it foretells the martyrdom of three of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, and that after the Veracious there would three martyr Caliphs. Because Martyrs (Shuhada) is plural, and the lowest number [in Arabic grammar] of the plural is three. That means, Umar, Uthman, and Ali (May God be pleased with them) would lead Islam after the Veracious One and would be martyred. And it occurred exactly as predicted.

 Also, it is giving news through the phrase the Righteous that people like the People of the Bench who performed good works, acts of worship, and feared God, and are commended in the Torah, would be numerous in the future. While the phrase How goodly a company are these! praises the generation that followed the Companions and accompanied them in learning and good works. And in addition to showing that to accompany those four groups on the road to eternity is good and commendable, it points out that Hasan's brief period as Caliph was important, as was confirmed by the predictions of the Prophet (PBUH): "The Caliphate after me will last thirty years,"6 and, "This my grandson Hasan is master of men, by means of whom God will reconcile two great groups,"7 thus quelling dispute and conflict. In this way it indicates that Hasan would be a fifth Caliph succeeding the Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs. While through a device called in rhetoric Mustatba'atu't-tarakib, it alludes to the fifth Caliph's name with the phrase How goodly (hasuna) a company are these! 
 There are many further mysteries like these allusive predictions, but since they are outside our purpose, that door has not been answered for now. There are numerous verses of the All-Wise Qur'an which give news of the Unseen in many respects. This sort of the Qur'an's predictions of the Unseen number thousands.
 * * *
 5. Qur'an, 3:31.
 6. Tirmidhi, Fitan 48; Musnad v, 220, 221; al-Albani, Sahihu Jami'u's-Saghir no: 3336.
 7. Bukhari, Fitan 20, Sulh 9, Fada'il Ashabi'n-Nabi 22, Manaqib 25; Darimi, Sunna 12; Tirmidhi, Manaqib 25; Nasa'i, Jum'a 27; Musnad v, 38, 44, 49, 51.
  1. 55
 One of the miraculous points of the All-Wise Qur'an which is manifested through 'coincidences'1 is as follows:
 In the All-Wise Qur'an, the total number of instances of the Divine Names of Allah, Merciful (Rahman), Compassionate (Rahim), Sustainer (Rabb), and He (Hu) in place of Allah, is approximately four thousand. According to a second sort of abjad reckoning which is in accordance with the arrangement of the alphabet, the value of In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate is also around four thousand. Since small fractions of large numbers do not spoil 'coincidence', they have been disregarded. Also, together with the two conjunctival waw's which Alif. Lam. Mim. comprises, it makes approximately two hundred and eighty. In addition to coinciding with both the approximately two hundred and eighty instances of the word Allah in Sura al-Baqara, and the around two hundred and eighty verses of the Sura, if reckoned with the second sort of Abjad reckoning, it again makes about four thousand. That coincides both with the five famous Divine Names mentioned above, and if the fractions are disregarded, with the numerical value of In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. That is to say, as a consequence of this mystery of 'coincidence,' Alif. Lam. Mim. is both a title comprising the One it signifies, and a name for al-Baqara, and a name of the Qur'an, and a concise index of both of them, and a sample, summary and seed of both, and a summary of In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. 
 According to the well-known Abjad system, In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate is equal in numerical value to the Name of Sustainer. Similarly, if the doubled Ra in the Merciful, the Compassionate (ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim) is counted twice, it becomes nine hundred and ninety and a key to numerous important mysteries-with its nineteen letters, the key to nineteen thousand worlds.
 Among the subtle 'coincidences' of the word Allah in the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition is that in the whole Qur'an eighty instances of the word Allah at the beginning of the bottom line of pages look to each other in corresponding manner. So too do eighty instances of the Name at
 1. 'Coincidence' (tawafuq): the correspondence of letters or words in lines or patterns on one or several pages. (Tr.)
  1. 56

the end of the bottom line look to each other in the same way. And again fifty-five instances of the word Allah right in the centre of the bottom line fall one on top of the other, uniting as though to make a single instance of the Name of Allah. At the start of the last line a single and sometimes three-letter short word numbers, with gaps, twenty-five, thus when added to the coinciding fifty-five at the middle of the lines, makes a 'coincidence' of eighty; this makes a coincidence of eighty both at the beginning of the line and at the end. Could such a subtle, fine, orderly, and well-balanced, miraculous 'coincidence' be without wisdom or subtlety? God forbid, such a thing could not be! For sure, significant treasuries could be opened up with the tip of these 'coincidences.'

 O our Sustainer! Do not take us to task if we forget or do wrong.2
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.3
 S a i d  N u r s i
 * * *


 This has been published in printed editions of Sikke-i Tasdik-i Gaybî (The Ratifying Stamp of the Unseen), and in hand-duplicated copies of The Flashes Collection. 
 * * *
 2. Qur'an, 2:282.
 3. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 57


 [Everyone should not read this Flash, for they will not see the subtle errors of the Unity of Existence, and are not in need of it.]
 In His Name!
 And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.
 My Dear, Loyal, Sincere, Conscientious Brother!
 The reason I did not write a separate letter to my brother Abdülmecid,1 was that I considered the letters I had written to you to be sufficient. After Hulûsî,2 Abdülmecid is a valuable brother for me and a student. Every morning and evening he is present in name in my prayers together with Hulûsî, sometimes being mentioned first. First Sabri,3 then Hakki Efendi4 profit from the letters I write you. I do not write them separate letters either. Almighty God made you a blessed elder brother to them. You correspond with Abdülmecid in my place; he should not worry, after Hulûsî, I think of him.
 Y o u r F i r s t Q u e s t i o n : You ask a confidential question about one of your forefathers signing himself, "al-Sayyid Muhammad."
 1. Abdülmecid (Abdulmajid) was Bediuzzaman's younger brother. A teacher of the religious sciences, then a Mufti, he translated parts of the Risale-i Nur into Arabic, and Isharatu'l-I'jaz and Mesnevi-i Nuriye from Arabic into Turkish. He died in 1967. (Tr.)
 2. Hulûsi Yahyagil was one of the first students of the Risale-i Nur. From Elazig in eastern Turkey, he was at that time serving as a captain in the army. He first visited Bediuzzaman in 1929, and in Bediuzzaman's words, "his zeal and seriousness were the most important reason for the last of the Words (Sözler) and The Letters (Mektûbat) being written. (Tr.)
 3. Sabri Arseven. Known as 'Santral Sabri', he was one of Bediuzzaman's most important students in Barla and was also imam of the neighbouring village of Bedre. He died 1954.(Tr.)
 4. Hakki Tigli. He was from Egridir and was imprisoned together with Bediuzzaman in Eskishehir in 1935. He also acted as Bediuzzaman's lawyer. (Tr.)
  1. 58
 My brother, it is not possible for me give a scholarly answer to this or to research into it. However, I told my companions: "Hulûsû resembles neither the present-day Turks, nor the Kurds. I see other qualities in him." They agreed with this. We said in accordance with the saying, "Divine grace does not make ability a condition," the great nobility to be observed in Hulûsî is a Divine gift. You should also know definitely that the Most Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) has two Families. One are his descendants, and the other is his Family from the point of view of the luminous collective personality of his Prophethood. In addition to your certainly being included in this second Family, I have proofless conviction that in respect of his first Family, your forefather's signature was not without reason.
 My Dear Brother!
 A  S u m m a r y  o f  Y o u r  S e c o n d  Q u e s t i o n :  Muhyiddin al-Arabi5 said: "The createdness of the spirit consists of its unfolding." With this question you are compelling a powerless wretch like me to contest an awesome, brilliant scholar of reality and genius of the occult sciences like Muhyiddin al-Arabi. However, relying on the teachings of the Qur'an I can attempt the discussion; even if I am only a fly, I can fly higher than such an eagle.
 My brother! You should understand that Hadhrat Muhyiddin would not deceive, but he could be deceived. He is rightly-guided, but may not be the guide in all his works. What he saw was correct, but it was not reality. The reality of man's spirit, the subject of your question, is elucidated in the Twenty-Ninth Word, the discussion on the spirit.
 Yes, in respect of its nature, the spirit is a law proceeding from the Divine command. But it is a living law clothed in external existence and possessing external existence. Hadhrat Muhyiddin thought of it only from the point of view of its essential nature. The way of the Unity of Existence considers the existence of things to be imagination. Together with his wondrous illuminations and observations, since he had chosen an important and independent way, he was compelled to apply certain Qur'anic verses to his way and observations, artificially and with forced interpretations, thus marring the clarity of the verses. In others of his treatises he expounds the straight highway of the Qur'an and of the Sunnis. That holy one holds a position all his own, and he is among those who are acceptable. But he exceeded the limits in his unbalanced illuminations, and in many matters opposed the majority of the learned authorities.
 It is because of this that although he was such an elevated and wondrous
 5. Muhyiddin b. Arabi. Known as Ibn al-Arabi and al-Shaykh al-Akbar, he was born in Andalusia in 560H and died in Damascus in 638H. Among his best known works are Fususu'l-Hikam and al-Futuhatu'l-Makkiya.
  1. 59

spiritual pole, a unique one of ages, it is as though his particular way was very short, and restricted to Sadruddin al-Qunawi,6 and that his works are only rarely benefited from by those on the straight path. Some of the authoritive scholars do not show any inclination to study those valuable works, and some of them even prevent it.

 Lengthy study and a very elevated and broad view is needed to show the fundamental differences together with their sources between the Hadhrat Muhyiddin's way and that of the exacting scholars. Yes, the differences are so fine and profound and the sources, so elevated and extensive that Hadhrat Muhyiddin has not been censured and has continued to be accepted. For if in regard to thought, scholarship, and illumination the difference and sources had become apparent, it would have been an extremely serious fall for him, and grievous error. Since the difference is so profound, we shall try to show it and the sources briefly by means of a comparison, and Hadhrat Muhyiddin's errors in the matter.
 For example, the sun appears in a mirror. The mirror both contains the sun, and is qualified by it. That is to say, in one respect the sun is present in the mirror, and in another respect it adorns the mirror, becoming a brilliant colour, attribute and quality of it. If the mirror had been a camera, it would have fixed the sun's image on photographic paper. In that case, the nature of the sun appearing on the photographic paper, and the sun which adorns the mirror-since it has become like a quality of the mirror, are other than the actual sun. They are not the sun, but the sun's manifestation which has taken on another existence. As for the existence of the sun which is visible in the mirror, even if it is not identical with the sun which is visible outside, since it is tied to it and points to it, it is supposed to have the same existence.
 As a consequence of this comparison, it may be said that "There is nothing apart from the actual sun in the mirror," meaning that the mirror contains it and intending the sun's external existence in the mirror. But if it is said that the sun's extended reflection, which has become like an attribute or quality of the mirror, and its image which has been transposed to the photographic paper is the sun, it is wrong; it is an error to say: "There is nothing in them other than the sun." For there is the reflection on the mirror's shining face and the image formed on its back, and these have their own separate existences. For sure those existences are from the sun's manifestation, but they are not the sun. Man's mind and imagination resemble this example of the mirror. It is as follows:
 6. Sadruddin al-Qunawi. One of Ibn al-Arabi's foremost students, he wrote a number of works on Sufism, among which is an-Nusus fi Tahqiqi't-Tawri'l-Makhsus.
  1. 60
 The information in the mirror of man's thought also has two faces: in one respect it is knowledge, in another, it is known. If we suppose the mind to contain what is known, then the known thing becomes something known by the mind; its existence is something different to the mind. If we suppose the mind to be qualified by the thing, it becomes an attribute or quality of the mind; then the thing becomes knowledge and has an external existence. Even if the thing known has an existence, it has an accidental external existence.
 Thus, according to these two comparisons, the universe is a mirror. The true nature of all beings is also a mirror. They are subject to Divine creation through Pre-Eternal Power. In one respect, all beings are sorts of mirrors to one of the Names of the Pre-Eternal Sun, showing one of its embroideries. Those on the way of Hadhrat Muhyiddin unveiled them only in respect of being mirrors and containers, revealing the similitude of their existence in the mirror, from the point of view of denial; and supposing the reflection to be identical with the thing reflected, did not think of other levels. They said: "There is no existent but He," and were in error. They almost descended to the level of denying the fundamental rule: "The reality of beings is constant." 
 As for the people of reality, they have seen through the mystery of the legacy of Prophethood and the definite statements of the Qur'an that the embroideries and inscriptions that come into being in the mirrors of beings through Divine power and will are His works. They are "all from Him;" they are not "all Him."7 Things have an existence and their existence is constant to a degree. For sure their existence is weak compared to that of the Necessary Existence, like an illusion or imagining, but through the Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One's creation, will, and power, it is.
 In the comparison, the sun in the mirror has an existence through its similitude apart from its external existence. And its expanded reflection also, which gives colour to and adorns the mirror, has an accidental and separate external existence. And the sun's image which is depicted on the photographic paper on the back of the mirror also has a separate and accidental external existence. 
 Similarly, the inscriptions of beings, which appear through the manifestations of the Sacred Divine Names-occurring through will, choice, and power-in the mirror of the universe and mirrors of the true natures of things, have a created existence separate from the Necessary Existence. And this existence has been given a permanence through Pre-Eternal Power.
 7. That is, everything is from Him; He creates it, not everything is Him so that it may be said "There is no existent save Him."
  1. 61
 But if the connection was to be severed, all things would at once cease to be. For its continued existence everything is every instant in need of its Creator's preserving it. "The reality of things is constant," but it is constant and permanent only through His making it so.
 Thus, Hadhrat Muhyiddin's saying that "Spirit is not created; it is a reality proceeding from the world of the Divine command and attribute of Will," is contrary to many clear statements of the Qur'an and Hadith. So too, according to the investigation above, is confused, deceived, and had not seen the weak existences of things.
 The places of manifestation of Divine Names like Creator and Provider cannot be illusions or imaginings. Since the Names have a reality, their places of manifestation also have an external reality.
 Y o u r  T h i r d  Q u e s t i o n : You want instruction in the science of jafr, which will form a key to it.
 T h e  A n s w e r : We are not carrying out this work and service at our own wish and through our own planning. A better will than ours governs in this work, over and above our wills. The science of jafr is an absorbing and pleasurable occupation, hence busying us and detaining us from our true duties. On many occasions, even, certain mysteries of the Qur'an were being revealed through that key, but when I addressed myself to them with complete enthusiasm and enjoyment, they became hidden. I discovered two instances of wisdom in this: 
 The First: It is possible that it is discourteous towards the prohibition of "None knows the Unseen save God."
 The Second: The service of teaching the Islamic Community about the fundamental truths of belief and the certain proofs of the Qur'an has a value and merit far exceeding the occult sciences like that of jafr. The firm evidences and categorical proofs employed in that sacred duty allow no opportunity for exploitation. But in the occult sciences like jafr which are not tied to any firm rules, there is the possibility of abuse and charlatans taking advantage of them. In fact, whenever need for the service of reality arises, a little is bestowed according to need.
 Among the keys of jafr, the easiest, and perhaps the purest and finest, are the various sorts of 'coincidences,' which proceed from the Divine Name of Originator, have displayed their manifestation in the Name of Allah in the Qur'an, and adorn the works we have published. They have been shown to a small extent in several places of the wonder-working of al-Gawth al-A'zam. For instance, if the 'coincidences' show something in several aspects, it forms a sign of the strength of a proof. Sometimes with
  1. 62

a number of deductions, a single 'coincidence' may be like a proof. However, that is enough for now. If there is serious need, it will be made known to you.

 Y o u r  F o u r t h  Q u e s t i o n : That is, not your question, but Imam Ömer Efendi's, which concerned a wretched doctor saying that Jesus (Upon whom be peace) had a father.8 With a lunatic interpretation, the doctor tried to show that a Qur'anic verse justifies him in saying this.
 At one time, the unfortunate man was trying to create something with the 'disjointed letters.' He was working feverishly at this. Then I understood that he had perceived from the atheists' attitude that they were going to attempt to abolish the Islamic script. The man was working pointlessly as though he was going to save the script in the face of that flood. Now in this matter, and in the Second Matter, he had realized the atheists' terrible attacks against the fundamentals of Islam, and I reckon that he wanted to find a way to conciliation through meaningless interpretations like that. According to definite verses like, 
 The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam,9 
 Jesus (Upon whom be peace) had no father, thus no importance may be given to the words of those who attempt to change through idiotic, forced interpretations this firm and authentic truth, due to supposing to be impossible contravention of a law of human reproduction. For there is no law at all that has no exceptions and from which individuals are exempt. And there is no universal rule which has not been breached by extraordinary individuals.
 Since the time of Adam there has been no law to which there have been no individual exceptions. Firstly, the law of reproduction was violated in regard to origins by the origins of the two hundred thousand animal species, and brought to an end. That is, the two hundred thousand progenitors of the species, quite simply like Adam's, violated the law of reproduction. They were not born of a father and mother, and were given existence outside the law.
 8. The extraordinary achievements of an extraordinary human individual who is the leader of a quarter of mankind, transformed humankind into angels of a sort, and left this world to make the heavens his dwelling-these extraordinary achievements of his demand an extraordinary form of the law of reproduction. For his being included under that law in a dubious, unknown, unnatural, and even base way would in no way have been appropriate for him, nor was there any necessity for him to be included under it. Moreover, the explicit statements of the Qur'an do not sustain interpretation. How can the law of the angels' sexuality, which is outside reproduction and in no way can be broken for the sake of repairing the law of human reproduction-which has been broken in a hundred ways-how can this law-together with powerful laws like the law of the explicit verses of the Qur'an-be violated?
 9. Qur'an, 3:59.
  1. 63
 Furthermore, the greater part-innumerable individuals-of the hundred thousand species we see with our eyes every spring are created outside that law, on the surface of leaves and on putrified matter. So you can see just how unreasonable is someone who cannot accept with his reason the exception of a single individual in one thousand nine hundred years to a law that was violated and breached at its origin and has been so even every year, and clings to forced interpretations of the definite statements of the Qur'an.
 The things those wretches call natural laws are the laws called 'adatullah' or Divine practices, which are a universal manifestation of the Divine command and dominical will, and which Almighty God changes for certain instances of wisdom. He shows that His will and choice govern in everything and in every law. Certain extraordinary individuals breach those 'practices.' This truth He points out through His decree,
 The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam.
 Ömer Efendi's S e c o n d Q u e s t i o n concerning the doctor:
 The doctor behaves extremely foolishly in this matter, so that to listen to what he says or give it importance is very demeaning. The unfortunate wants to be half way between belief and unbelief. I say the following, in reply not to his unimportant discussion, but to Ömer Efendi's questioning:
 The reason in the injunctions and prohibitions of the Shari'a are the Divine command and Divine prohibition. Advantages and instances of wisdom are to give them weight, and may be the reason for the command or prohibition from the point of view of the Divine Name of All-Wise.
 For example, someone on a journey, shortens the five daily prayers. There is a reason for and a purpose or instance of wisdom in shortening the prayers. The reason is the journey, while the purpose is the difficulty involved. If on a journey and there is no difficulty involved, the prayers are still shortened. If not on a journey, and the person suffers a hundred difficulties in his own house, he may not shorten the prayers. For the difficulty occurring on some journeys is sufficient as the purpose for shortening the prayers, and is again sufficient for making the journey the reason.
 Thus, in accordance with this rule of the Shari'a, the Shari'a's injunctions do not change in consequence of purposes or instances of wisdom; they look to the true reasons. Apart from the harm and illness caused by pork, as the doctor said, according to the saying, "One who eats pork becomes like a pig in some respects;"10 the pig is not harmless like other
 10. I wonder, does the fact that, despite all the wondrous progress and civilization 
 of Europe and its advances in science and knowledge beneficial for humanity, its people eat pork not play some part in their becoming piggishly stuck in the darkness of materialism and naturalism, which are entirely the reverse of that progress, knowledge, and attainment? I ask you. Evidence that man's temperament is affected by the food he eats is the saying: "One who eats meat every day for forty days will suffer anxiety and sorrow in his heart," which has become proverbial.
  1. 64

domestic animals. In addition to its meat causing considerable harm rather than being beneficial, it has been established medically that the powerful fat in its meat is also harmful, even in the lands of Europe which are powerfully cold, and is thus in fact and in meaning extremely harmful.

 Thus, instances of wisdom like these are a purpose for the Divine prohibition and for its being forbidden. It is not necessary for the wisdom to be present in every instance and all the time. The reason does not change with the purpose and wisdom changing. If the reason does not change, the injunction does not change. And so, it may be seen through this rule how far from the spirit of the Shari'a the unfortunate man was when he spoke. No importance should be given to what he said regarding the Shari'a. The Creator has many animals in the form of unreasoning philosophers!
 * * *
  1. 65
 Q u e s t i o n : Muhyiddin al-Arabi considered the Unity of Existence to be of the highest level. Likewise, some of the great saints who took the path of love followed him. However, you say that this matter is not of the highest level, and is not real; that it is rather the way, to a degree, of those who become intoxicated and immersed in the Divine, and of the people of love and ecstasy. So what, briefly, is the high level of the affirmation of Divine Unity pointed out by the clear verses of the Qur'an, through the mystery of the legacy of prophethood? Can you explain it?
 T h e A n s w e r : It is a hundred times beyond the ability of an utterly powerless unfortunate like myself to judge these elevated stations with his limited thought. I shall just explain one or two extremely brief points proceeding from the effulgence of the All-Wise Qur'an. Perhaps they will be useful in understanding the matter.
 There are numerous reasons for the way of the Unity of Existence, and for becoming enmeshed in it; one or two of them shall be described:
 The First Reason: Because they could not squeeze into their brains the maximum degree of the creativity of dominicality, and could not entirely establish in their hearts that everything, through the mystery of Divine Oneness, is held directly in the grasp of dominicality and that all things have existence through Divine power, choice, and will, those who took that way were obliged to say that everything is either Him, or does not have existence, or is imaginary, or is His manifestation or emanation.
 The Second Reason: The mark of passionate love is to want never to be separated from the beloved and to flee desperately from such separation; to tremble at the thought of parting, to fear distance from the beloved as though fearing Hell, and to abominate transience; to love union with the love of one's own spirit and life, and to yearn for closeness to the beloved with the longing for Paradise. And so, through adhering to a manifestation of Divine immediacy in all things, those who took the way of the Unity of Existence disregarded separation and distance; supposing union and meeting to be permanent, they said: "There is no existent but He;" through the intoxication of love and as demanded by the ecstasy of permanence, meeting, and union, they imagined that in the Unity of Existence was a most pleasurable way of illumination whereby they could be saved from the dreadfulness of separation. 
 That is to say, the source of the first reason was the hand of the intellect being unable to reach up to some of the truths of belief, which
  1. 66

were extremely broad and elevated; its being unable to comprehend them, and not having developed completely in regard to belief. While the source of the second reason was the extraordinary unfolding of the heart from the point of view of love, and its wondrous expansion and breadth.

 However, the supreme level of Divine Unity the Purified Ones-who were the people of sobriety and great saints of the legacy of prophethood -saw through the explicit expositions of the Qur'an is both extremely elevated, and shows both the maximum level of dominicality and creativity, and that all the Divine Names are real. It preserves its bases and does not spoil the balance of the decrees of dominicality. For they say that together with the Oneness of His Essence and His being free of space, with His knowledge, Almighty God encompasses and determines directly all things together with all their attributes, and through His will He chooses and specifies them, and through His power He creates them. He creates and directs the whole universe as though it were a single being.
 He creates the huge spring with the same ease as creating a flower. Nothing can be an obstacle to anything else. There is no fragmentation in His regarding things; He is present everywhere at the same instant through the disposal of His knowledge and power. There is no division or distribution in His disposal. This mystery has been expounded and proved completely in the Sixteenth Word and in the Second Stopping-Place of the Thirty-Second Word. Since, according to the rule, "Comparisons are incontestible," attention is not paid to defects in comparison and allegory, I shall set forth a very faulty comparison so that the difference between the two ways may be understood to a degree.
 For example, let us imagine a huge, matchless, and wondrously adorned peacock which can fly from east to west in an instant, and opens and closes its wings, which stretch from north to south, are adorned with hundreds of thousands of fine patterns, and in every single feather of which are included brilliant arts. Now, there are two men observing it; they want to fly with the wings of the intellect and heart up to the elevated qualities of this bird; to its wondrous decorations. One looks at the peacock's state and form and the marvellous inscriptions of power on all its feathers; he loves it with extreme passion and ardour; he in part abandons his attentive reflective thought, and adheres to love. But then he sees that every day those lovable decorations change and are transformed. Those objects of his love, which he worships, disappear and are lost.
 While he should have said that through true Divine Unity, which he could not encompass with his mind, and absolute dominicality and the Oneness of the Divine Essence, they were the artistic decorations of an
  1. 67

Inscriber possessing universal creativity, he said instead-in order to console himself-that the spirit of the peacock was so sublime that its Maker was within it, or that the peacock had become Him, and that since its spirit had become one with its being, and its being had combined with its outward appearance, its spirit's perfection and being's exaltedness displayed those manifestations, showing a different inscription and beauty every moment; it was not a true creation through its will, but rather a manifestation, an emanation.

 As for the other man, he said that those harmonious and well-ordered decorations so full of art definitely required will, choice, intention, and purpose. It was not possible for there to be a manifestation without will, an emanation without choice.
 Yes, the peacock had a beautiful and elevated nature, but it could not be the doer; it was passive. It could not become one with the active agent. Its spirit was fine and exalted, but it could not be the creator and disposer, only receptive and a means. For observedly in each of its feathers was an art performed with infinite wisdom and an inscription and decoration made through an infinite power. And these could not occur without will and choice. These arts showing perfect wisdom within perfect power, and perfect dominicality and mercy within perfect wisdom were not the work of some sort of manifestation. The scribe who had written that gilded notebook could not be inside it and be united with it. The notebook rather only had contact with the nib of the scribe's pen. In which case, the wondrous decorations of the similitude of the peacock known as the universe were a gilded missive of the peacock's Creator.
 Now, look at the peacock and read the missive. Say to its Scribe: "What wonders God has willed! Blessed be God! Glory be to God!" One who supposes the missive to be the scribe, or the scribe to be inside the letter, or fancies the missive to be imagination, has surely hidden his reason in the veils of love, and been unable to see the true form of reality.
 Among the varieties of passionate love, the one most giving rise to the way of the Unity of Existence, is love of this world. When it turns into true love, love of this world, which is metaphorical, is transformed into the Unity of Existence. A person loves a personal beloved with metaphorical love. Then, unable to situate his beloved's transience and ephemerality in his heart, he consoles himself saying that he is a mirror to the True Object of Love and Worship, and attaches himself to a reality, so acquiring permanence for him through true love.
 In the same way, when the strange love of one who takes the huge world and the universe in its totality as his beloved is transformed into
  1. 68

true love through the constant blows of death and separation, he seeks refuge in the way of the Unity of Existence, in order to save that great beloved of his from death and separation. If he has extremely strong and elevated belief, it becomes a pleasurable, luminous, acceptable level, like with those resembling Muhyiddin al-Arabi. However, there is the possibility of falling into abysses, entering materiality, and becoming submerged in causes. As for the Unity of Witnessing, it is harmless; it is an exalted way of the people of sobriety.

 O God, show us what is indeed the truth, and make us follow it!
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.
 * * *
  1. 69


 'Blows Dealt by Divine Compassion'
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 On the Day when every soul will be confronted with all the good it has done, and all the evil it has done, it will wish there were a great distance between it and its evil. But God cautions you [to remember] Himself. And God is full of kindness to those who serve Him.1
 One meaning of the above verse is expounded by explaining 'the blows dealt by Divine compassion' that my comrades in the service of the Qur'an receive in consequence of the faults and mistakes they make as the result of human nature. A succession of extra-ordinary events proceeding from the service of the Qur'an and an instance of Gawth al-A'zam's2 wonder-working will be explained, who supervises this sacred service with God's permission and assists it with his saintly influence and help-so that those who perform it may persevere earnestly in their service.
 There are three sorts of wonder-working associated with this sacred service:
 The First Sort is that aspect which prepares the service and urges those employed to perform it.
 The Second Sort removes obstacles and repulses the evil of those who oppose it and deals them blows. There are numerous instances of this Second Sort, and they are very lengthy,3 so postponing them to another time, we shall discuss the Third Sort, which are the lightest.
 1. Qur'an, 3:30.
 2. See Note 4, Page 38.
 3. For example, those who oppose religion themselves suffered in this world a   greater penalty than the torments, distress, and treachery they had inflicted on students of the Risale-i Nur; they received what they had given.
  1. 70
 The Third Sort is this: Whenever those who work sincerely in this service become lax, they receive a compassionate slap. So coming to their senses, they again start working. Incidents of this sort number more than a hundred. Of only twenty incidents, thirteen or fourteen received 'compassionate slaps,' while six or seven received 'restraining slaps.'
 This concerns this unfortunate Said: whenever I have flagged in my duties, and saying, "What is it to me?," have become preoccupied with my own private affairs, I have received a slap. So I have formed the opinion that I received the slap due to my neglect. Because whatever my purpose was that deceived me and spurred me on, I received a slap that was the reverse of it. And studying all the compassionate slaps that my other sincere friends have received, the slaps were the opposite of whatever their aim was-if they were neglectful-so that we have come to the conclusion that the incidents were wonders proceeding from service of the Qur'an.
 For example, so long as this unfortunate Said was busy teaching the truths of the Qur'an in Van at the time of the Shaykh Said4 events, the suspicious government did not and could not interfere with me. Then when I said "What is it to me?," and thinking of myself withdrew into a ruined cave on Mount Erek in order to save my life in the Hereafter, they took me without cause and exiled me. And I was brought to Burdur.
 There, again so long as I was serving the Qur'an-at that time all the exiles were watched very closely, and although I was supposed to report to the police in person every evening, my sincere students and myself were exceptions. The Governor there complained to Fevzi Pasha5 when he came. But Fevzi Pasha said: "Don't interfere with him; treat him with respect." What made him say that was the sacred nature of service to the Qur'an. But whenever I have been overcome by the idea of saving myself and thought only of my life in the Hereafter, and there has been a temporary slackening in my serving the Qur'an, I have received a slap contrary to my intentions. That is to say, I was sent from one place of exile to another. I was sent to Isparta.
 In Isparta I took up my duties once again. After twenty days, a number
 4. Shaykh Said of Palu was the Naqshbandi shaykh who led the famous uprising in eastern Turkey against the Ankara government in early 1925. He was captured and sentenced to death in Diyarbakir, 29th June 1925. (Tr.)
 5. This refers to Marshal Fevzi Çakmak, Chief of General Staff of the Turkish army. (Tr.)
  1. 71

of cowardly people said by way of a warning: "Perhaps the government won't look favourably on this situation. It would be better if you go a bit cautiously." Again the idea of thinking only of myself took hold of me, and I said: "The people should not come!" And again I was taken from that place of exile and sent to a third, to Barla.

 And in Barla whenever a slackness has come over me and the idea of thinking of myself only has gained strength, one of these serpents and two-faced hypocrites from among 'the worldly' has been set to pester me. During this eight years eighty such incidents have befallen me; I am able to relate them, but am cutting them short so as not to bore people.
 My brothers! I have told of the compassionate slaps I have received, now if you will permit it and forgive me, I shall relate those that have befallen you. Do not be offended. If anyone is offended, I will not put his name.
 My true brother, and first and most superior and self-sacrificing student, Abdülmecid,6 had a fine house in Van. He was well-off, and he was a teacher. Following his own ideas, he did not join those who were attempting to send me to the border region against my wishes, which was a place more in need of Qur'anic service, and as though for my benefit, did not vote for it. As though, if I had gone to the border region, both service to the Qur'an would have been apolitical, not pure, and they would have expelled him from Van-so he did not take part. But he received a compassionate slap contrary to his intentions, for he left both Van, and his beautiful house, and his native region; he was compelled to go to Ergani.
 Hulûsi Bey7 was a most important member serving the Qur'an. When he returned to his native region from Egridir, there were factors that would allow him complete enjoyment and worldly happiness, perhaps causing him to become slack in his service of the Qur'an, which pertains solely to the Hereafter. For he was reunited with his parents, whom he had not seen for a long time, and he was back home, and because he had returned there with rank and honour, the world was smiling on him and appeared good. Whereas for those employed in service of the Qur'an, either the world must be vexed with them, or they must be vexed at the world, so that they can perform that service sincerely and earnestly.
 6. See note 1, page 59. (Tr.)
 7. See note 2, page 59. (Tr.)
  1. 72
 Hulûsi's heart was certainly unshakeable, but since such a situation drove him to slackness, he received a slap from Divine compassion. For one or two years a number of dissemblers were set to pester him, who dispelled all his worldly pleasure. They made both the world vexed at him, and him vexed at the world. So in the true meaning of the word he embraced his duty earnestly.
 This is Muhâjir Hâfiz Ahmed.8 He himself said the following:
 "Yes, I confess that I made a mistake in my interpretation of the question of my life in the Hereafter in connection with my service of the Qur'an. I had a wish that would cause me to be lax in my service, and I received a blow that was compassionate, but also severe and was atonement. It was like this: my Master (Ustad) was not in favour of the new inventions.9 My mosque was next to his house and the Three Months10 were drawing close. If I had abandoned my mosque, both I would have forgone much reward, and the district would have grown accustomed to not praying. If I had not carried out the new practices, I would have been barred. So according to my interpretation I wanted my Master, whom I loved more than my life, to temporarily move to another village. I did not know that if he moved, or went to another region, it would cause a temporary lapse in my service of the Qur'an. Just at that juncture I received a blow. It was compassionate, but so awesome that three months later I still have not regained my senses. However, praise be to God, according to what my Master says, it was imparted to him that we may hope from Divine mercy that each minute of the calamity is equivalent to a day's worship. For the mistake was not due to enmity; the wish occurred to me only because I was thinking of my life in the Hereafter."
 This is Hakki Efendi.11 Since he is not here now, I am deputizing for him as I did for Hulûsi Bey, and say this: while Hakki Efendi was carrying out to the letter his duties as student, an immoral Kaymakam12 came to the district. So he hid what he had written so that harm should come neither to his Master, nor to himself. He temporarily gave up his service to the Risale-i Nur. Suddenly, a court case was opened against him, bearing
 8. See note 4, page 26. (Tr.)
 9. That is, innovations opposed to the marks of Islam, like the Turkish call to prayer.
 10. al-Shuhur al-Thalatha: The three months of Rajab, Sha'ban, and Ramadan (Tr.).
 11. See note 4, page 59. (Tr.)
 12. The head official of a district (Tr.)
  1. 73

the meaning of a slap dealt by Divine compassion, as a result of which he would have had to pay a fine of a thousand liras. He was subject to the threat for a year-until he came here and we met, and on his return he again took up his service of the Qur'an and the duties of being a Risale-i Nur student. Then the decree of the compassionate slap was lifted, and he was acquitted.

 Later a further duty commenced for the students, which concerned the writing out of the Qur'an in a new way.13 A portion was given to Hakki Efendi. He embarked on the portion in the best way, and wrote out a thirtieth part of the Qur'an. But because of his straitened circumstances he felt compelled to secretly undertake the defence of someone in a court case. He suddenly received another compassionate slap. The finger he used to hold his pen was broken. It was as though warning him: "This finger won't both write out a lawyer's case and the Qur'an!" We were astonished at his finger because we did not know about his taking on the case. Then it was understood that the sacred, pure service of the Qur'an did not want to involve the fingers which were particular to it in other work. Anyway.... I know Hulûsi Bey like I know myself and spoke in his place, and Hakki Bey is just the same. If he does not like my acting as his proxy, he can write about his slap himself!
 This is Bekir Efendi.14 He is not here at present, so like I acted as proxy for my brother Abdülmecid, relying on his confidence and loyalty and what all my close friends like Samli Hafiz and Süleyman Efendi say and know, I say this: Bekir Efendi had the Tenth Word printed. And we sent him the Twenty-Fifth Word on the Miraculousness of the Qur'an to print before the new letters were introduced.15 We also wrote that we would send him the printing costs, as we sent him the costs of printing the Tenth Word. But thinking of my poverty and seeing that the printing costs would be around four hundred liras, Bekir Efendi thought to himself: "perhaps the Hoja won't be pleased if I pay it out of my own pocket," and his soul deceived him. It was not printed, and caused considerable harm to our service of the Qur'an. Two months later nine hundred liras of his were stolen, and he received a compassionate but severe blow. God willing, the lost nine hundred liras was like the giving of alms.
 13. This refers to its being written so as to show the miracle of the 'coincidences.' (For 'coincidences', see note 1, page 57-Tr.)
 14. Bekir Dikmen 1898-1954. He was a merchant of Barla. (Tr.)
 15. That is, the introduction of the Latin alphabet at the end of 1928. (Tr.)
  1. 74
 This is Samli Hafiz Tevfik.16 He himself says: "Yes, I confess that because of some things I did unknowingly and in error which would have caused harm to our service to the Qur'an, I received two compassionate slaps. I have no doubt that they were the result of that.
 "The First: All praise be to God, I was endowed with handwriting of the Arabic script which is to a degree appropriate for writing the Qur'an. My Master first of all assigned me three thirtieth parts of the Qur'an to write out, and divided the rest among the others. Desire to write out the Qur'an destroyed my wish to perform the service of writing out the rough and final drafts of the parts of the Risale-i Nur. I even had the conceited idea of wanting to surpass the others who did not know the proper writing of the Arabic script. I had even said arrogantly when my Master told me as a precaution about the writing that it was for him: "I know this. I don't need to learn it." And so in accordance with this mistake of mine, I received an extraordinary and unimaginable slap: what I wrote was not even as good as that of a brother (Husrev) who knew the least about writing the Arabic script. We were all astonished. And we have understood now that it was a slap.
 "The Second: I confess that two of my attitudes were damaging for the complete sincerity necessary for service to the Qur'an, which has to be purely for God's sake, and I received a severe blow. For I am like a stranger in this region, and foreign. Also-but I should not complain-since I did not observe frugality and contentment, important rules of my Master, I suffer from poverty. I am compelled to mix with selfish and arrogant people, and so, may God forgive it, I was forced to be generous in hypocritical and sycophantic manner. My Master frequently warned, reminded, and scolded me, but unfortunately I could not save myself. On the one hand satans from among jinn and men were profiting from this situation of mine which was opposed to the spirit of service of the All-Wise Qur'an, and on the other it caused a coldness and slackness in our service.
 "In the face of this fault of mine, I received a severe, but God willing compassionate, blow. I have no doubt that it happened as a consequence of that fault. The blow was this: although for eight years I have had both close relations with my Master and been his writer of rough drafts and final drafts, for around eight months, I had been unable to benefit from
 16. Tevfik Göksu, 1887-1965, was Bediuzzaman's student and scribe in Barla. He was imprisoned together with him in Eskishehir and Denizli. He saw Bediuzzaman in Damascus in 1911, where his father was serving in the army, hence his name 'S(h)amli'. 
  1. 75

the Risale-i Nur. We were astonished at this situation. Both I and my Master sought the reason, wondering why it was thus. We now feel certain that those truths of the Qur'an are light and luminous, and cannot unite with the darkness of artificiality, flattery, and abasement. So the meaning of those truths' lights were drawing away from me, appearing foreign to me and as strangers. I beseech Almighty God that He will grant me sincerity worthy of such service, and save me from hypocrisy and artificiality towards 'the worldly.' I request of firstly my Master and all my brothers that they pray for me.

 "The most faulty,
 "Sa m l i H a f i z T e v f i k"
 This is Seyrani. Like Husrev, he was one of my students who was enthusiastic about the Risale-i Nur and had a good understanding of it. I consulted the ideas of my students in Isparta about the 'coincidences,' which are a key to the mysteries of the Qur'an and to the science of jafr. The others responded and took part eagerly, but because he had other ideas and points of interest, he did not respond, and in addition wanted me to give up the truth I knew to be certain. He wrote me a letter that upset me considerably. I said: "Alas! I have lost this student." Certainly I wanted to enlighten his ideas, but a further meaning confused matters. He received a blow from Divine compassion: he remained for nearly a year in a place of seclusion (that is, in prison).
 This is the Hâfiz Zühtü the Elder. At a time he was as though supervising the Risale-i Nur students in Agrus, not considering the students' spiritual honour to be sufficient, who had taken as their way the following of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) and avoiding innovations, he undertook to teach a serious innovation in the hope of gaining stature in the eyes of 'the worldly.' He perpetrated an error which was directly and completely opposed to our way, and received an awesome slap from Divine compassion. An incident occurred that completely destroyed his family's honour. Unfortunately, Hâfiz Zühtü the Younger was also affected by the grievous incident although he was not deserving of any slap. But God willing it will be like a beneficial surgical operation delivering his heart from worldly attachment and making it over totally to the Qur'an.
  1. 76
 This is someone called Hâfiz Ahmed (May God have mercy on him). For two or three years he wrote out the treatises in encouraging fashion and he benefited from them. Then 'the worldly' took advantage of a weak trait in his character. His enthusiam was dampened. He had relations with 'the worldly,' perhaps so that in that way he would not be harmed by them, and have some say with them, and gain some sort of position, and make his scant livelihood more plentiful. And so, in return for the slackness and harm that was thus caused to his service of the Qur'an, he received two blows. One was that five more people had to be supported by his scant means and his situation became truly wretched. The second slap: as someone who was sensitive in regard to honour and self-respect and could not brook anyone's criticism or objections, he was unknowingly used as a shield by certain cunning people in such a way that his honour was sullied. Ninety per cent of his honour was destroyed and ninety per cent of people were turned against him. Anyway.... May God forgive him, God willing he will come to his senses and return in part to his duty.
 This was not written since perhaps he would not agree.
 This is the teacher, Galip (May God have mercy on him). Yes, he performed great services loyally and appreciatively in writing out final drafts of the treatises, displaying no weakness in the face of any difficulties. Most days he would come, and listening with complete eagerness, copy them down. Then in return for a fee of thirty liras he had the whole of The Words and the Letters written out. His aim was to distribute them in his native region and to enlighten the people there. But due to certain ideas, he did not distribute the treatises as he had envisaged and left them in their box. Suddenly a grievous event occurred for which he suffered grief and sorrow for a year. He gained numerous unjust and tyrannical enemies in place of a handful of official enemies who would have been inimical because he had distributed the treatises, and lost some of his friends.
 This is Hâfiz Halid16 (May God grant him mercy). He said: 
 16. A teacher by profession, Hafiz Halid Tekin was a native of Barla. He was one of Bediuzzaman's close students there, also acting as his scribe. (Tr.)
  1. 77
 "Yes, I confess that I was feverishly engaged in writing out rough drafts of the works my Master disseminated in serving the Qur'an, the post of imam in a mosque in our quarter became available. With the intention of dressing once again in my former robe and wearing a turban, I temporarily neglected my service and avoided doing it. I received a compassionate slap contrary to my intentions. Although for eight or nine months I acted as imam, in extraordinary manner I was unable to wear the turban, despite the repeated promises of the Mufti. I have no doubt that this compassionate slap was the result of that error. I was both a someone addressed by my Master and his scribe of rough drafts. He suffered difficulties due to my neglect. In any event... Still, thanks be to God, we realized my error and understood just how sacred this service is. We were confident that behind us was a Master like a protecting angel, like Shah Geylani.
 "The weakest of God's servants,
 "H â f i z H a l i d"
 This consists of the three small slaps the three Mustafa's received.
 The First: For eight years Mustafa Çavus (May God grant him mercy) attended to our small private mosque, and to its stove, paraffin, and even the matches. I learnt later that for the eight years he provided for the paraffin and matches out of his own pocket. On the night before Friday in particular, so long as there was not some other essential matter, he would join the congregation. Then, taking advantage of his ingenuousness, 'the worldly' said to him: "They are going to interfere in Hâfiz's-one of the scribes of the Words-wearing a turban. He should also temporarily give up secretly making the call to prayer. You tell the scribe to take off his turban before they remove it by force." They did not know that for someone like Mustafa Çavus with an elevated spirit to tell someone employed in service of the Qur'an to remove his turban was extremely difficult. But he told him what they had said.
 That night I dreamt that Mustafa Çavus came to my room behind the Kaymakam with dirty hands. The following day, I said to him: "Mustafa Çavus, whom did you see today? I dreamt of you with dirty hands behind the Kaymakam." He replied: "Alas! The Muhtar told me to 'tell the scribe.' I did not know what was behind it."
 Also, that same day he brought almost an okka17 of paraffin to the
 17. An okka was the equivalent of 2.9 lbs. (Tr.)
  1. 78

mosque. In a way he had never done before, he left the mosque door open and a kitten entered. Then a big man came, and supposing the paraffin in the ewer to be water, sprinkled it all around the mosque, in order to clean it and the mess left by the kitten on the prayer-mat. It is extraordinary that he did not smell the paraffin. That is to say, the mosque did not allow the man to smell it, in order to point out to Mustafa Çavus through the tongue of disposition: "We don't need your paraffin. I have not accepted it because of the mistake you made." That week on the eve of Friday and other important prayers, even, he was unable to join the congregation, although he tried to. Then seriously repenting and seeking forgiveness, he regained his former purity of heart.

 The Second Mustafa's: These are my valuable, hard-working, and important student Mustafa from Kuleönü, and his most loyal and self-sacrificing friend, Hâfiz Mustafa (May God grant him mercy). After the religious festival I sent word telling them not to come so that 'the worldly' should not bother us and cause any slackness in our service of the Qur'an. But if they did come, they should come singly. Then one night, three of them came all together. They intended to leave before dawn. In a way that had never previously occurred, neither Mustafa Çavus, nor Süleyman Efendi, nor myself, nor themselves, had thought of taking any clear precautions; we were made to forget to do so. Each of us left it to the others and took no measures. They left before dawn. Then for two hours they were continuously pounded by such a storm that I was alarmed thinking that they would not be saved from it. Until that time this winter neither had there been such a storm, nor had I pitied anyone so much. As a punishment for his lack of caution, I was going to send Süleyman after them to find out if they were well and safe. Mustafa Çavus said: "If he goes, he will be stranded too, and I'll have to go after him to find him. Then Abdullah Çavus will have to come after me." So saying: "We place our trust in God," we waited.
 Q u e s t i o n : You consider the calamities visited on your special friends to be slaps; punishment for laxity in their service of the Qur'an. Whereas those that are truly inimical to you and to the service of the Qur'an remain safe and sound. Why are friends dealt slaps while enemies are left untroubled?
 T h e A n s w e r : According to, "Wrongdoing does not continue, but unbelief does," the errors of friends are like a sort of wrongdoing in this service of the Qur'an of ours, and therefore are swiftly punished. A person receives a compassionate slap and if he is sensible, realizes his error. But enemies' opposition to service of the Qur'an, and their efforts to
  1. 79

prevent it, are on account of misguidance. Knowingly or unknowingly, aggression against our service assists atheism. Since unbelief persists, generally they do not immediately receive any blows.

 Just as the penalties of those perpetrating small crimes are delivered locally, and serious crimes are sent to the high courts, so too, according to the rules, the small errors of believers and close friends are punished swiftly and in part in this world, in order to quickly purify them. But the crimes of the people of misguidance are so great that since their punishments cannot be contained in this brief worldly life, as required by justice they are referred to the Supreme Tribunal in the eternal realm, and mostly do not receive any punishment here.
 The Hadith "This world is the prison of the believers and the Paradise of the unbelievers"18 also alludes to this truth. That is to say, because the believer receives partial punishment for his faults in this world, it is a place of punishment for him. In relation to his happiness in the Hereafter, this world is a dungeon and Hell. And since the unbelievers will not be released from Hell and they in part receive the rewards for their good works in this world and their large sins are postponed, this world is their Paradise in relation to their life in the Hereafter. For in reality and in meaning the believer is far happier in this world also than the unbeliever. A believer's faith is quite simply like a Paradise in his spirit; while the unbelief of the unbeliever sets afire a sort of Hell in his being.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.
 * * *
 18. Muslim, Zuhd 3; Tirmidhi, Zuhd 16; Ibn Maja, Zuhd 3; Musnad ii, 197, 323, 389, 485.
  1. 80


 The Stairway of the Practices of the Prophet 
 and Antidote for the Sickness of Innovations
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Now has come to you a Prophet from among yourselves; it grieves him that you should perish; ardently anxious is he over you; to the believers is he most kind and merciful.1
 [The First Station of this verse is the Highway of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH),2 and its Second Station, the Stairway of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH).]
 But if they turn away, say: "God suffices me, there is no god but He; in Him do I place my trust-He the Sustainer of the Throne [of Glory] Supreme!"3 * Say: "If you do love God, follow me: God will love you and forgive you your sins; for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."4
 Of the hundreds of points concerning these two sublime verses, eleven will be explained concisely.
 The Most Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) said: "Whoever adheres to my Practices when my Community is corrupted shall receive the reward of a hundred martyrs."5
 1. Qur'an, 9:128.
 2. That is, The Fourth Flash. (Tr.)
 3. Qur'an, 9:129.
 4. Qur'an, 3:31.
 5. Ibn Adiy, al-Kamil fi'd-Duafa ii, 739; al-Munziri, al-Targhib wa't-Tarhib i, 41; Tabarani, al-Majma'u'l-Kabir 1394; Ali b. Husamuddin, Muntakhabat Kanzi'l-Ummal i, 100; al-Haythami, Majma'u'z-Zawa'id viii, 132.
  1. 81

Yes, following the Practices of the Prophet is certainly most valuable. And at times when innovations are prevalent following them is even more valuable. And particularly when the Prophet's Community is corrupted, to comply with a small matter of conduct of the Practices signifies a powerful belief and fear of God. Following the Practices directly recalls the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and that recollection and remembrance is transformed into recollection of the Divine Presence. The moment the Practices are complied with in even the least significant dealings, in the conduct of eating, drinking, or sleeping, such habitual, natural acts become meritorious acts of worship in compliance with the Shari'a. For through such commonplace actions a person thinks of following the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) and conceives of them as conduct of the Shari'a. Then he recalls that he is the owner of the Shari'a. And from that his heart turns to Almighty God, the True Lawgiver, and he gains a sort of sense of the Divine Presence and worship.

 And so, due to this mystery, one who makes it his practice to follow the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) transforms all his acts into worship, and may make his whole life fruitful and yielding of reward.
 Imam-i Rabbani, Ahmad Faruqi, (May God be pleased with him) said: "While traversing the degrees in my spiritual journeying, I saw the most brilliant, splendid, subtle, and sound among the levels of the saints to be those who took following the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) as the basis of their way. Even the ordinary saints of that level appeared to be more splendid than the highest saints of the other levels."
 Yes, Imam-i Rabbani, the Regenerator of the Second Millenium (May God be pleased with him) speaks the truth. One who takes the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) as the basis rises to the station of being beloved of God under the shadow of God's Beloved.
 At a time this poor Said was trying to emerge from the Old Said, his intellect and heart were floundering among truths in a terrible spiritual storm resulting from lack of a guide and the pride of his evil-commanding soul. They were being tossed around, rising and falling, sometimes from the Pleiades to the ground, sometimes from the ground to the Pleiades.
 At that time I observed that like qibla-directing compasses showing the course to be followed in ships, each of the matters of the Practices, 
  1. 82

and even small points of conduct, were like electric switches among innumerable hazardous, dark ways. And when, at the time on that spiritual journeying I saw myself under awesome pressure overwhelmed by truly burdensome loads, I followed the matters of the Practices touching on that situation, I experienced a lightness as though all my burdens were being lifted from me. Through submitting to them, I was saved from doubts and scruples, that is, from anxieties like: "Is such a course of action right, is it beneficial, I wonder?" Whenever I drew back my hand, I looked and saw that the pressure was intense. There were numerous ways, but it could not be known where they led. The load was heavy, and I was utterly powerless. My view was short, and the way, dark. Whenever I adhered to the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH), the way was lit up and seen to be safe. I experienced a state of mind as though the load was being lightened and the pressure lifted. And so at those times I confirmed through my own observations what Imam-i Rabbani had said.

 At one time, I saw myself in a strange world resulting from a state of mind produced by contemplating death and affirming the proposition "Death is a reality," and from the transience and passing of the world. I saw myself as a corpse standing at the head of three huge corpses.
 O n e : I was like a tombstone at the head of the immaterial corpse of all living creatures, with which I was connected through my life and which had entered the grave of the past.
 T h e S e c o n d : In the graveyard of the globe of the earth on the face this century, which was the tombstone at the head of the vast corpse buried in the grave of the past of all the species of living creatures, with which mankind is connected through its life, I was a point that would be swiftly erased, an ant that would swiftly die.
 T h e T h i r d : Since the universe is certain to die on Doomsday, that is how I saw it. And in addition to seeing myself in terror at the death agonies of that vast corpse, in wonder and astonishment at its death, my own death too, which is certain to occur in the future, appeared to be happening at that time. In accordance with And if they turn away (to the end of the verse), on my death all beings, all my beloveds, turned their backs on me, abandoning me and leaving me alone. My spirit was being driven towards the future on the side of post-eternity, which resembles a boundless ocean. Whether it wanted or not, it had to be cast into the ocean.
 And so, while in that most strange and sorrowful state of mind, help reached me from belief and the Qur'an; the verse,
  1. 83

But if they turn away, say: "God suffices me, there is no god but He; in Him do I place my trust-He the Sustainer of the Throne [of Glory] Supreme!"

 came to my assistance, and became like a safe and trusty boat. My spirit boarded the verse with complete confidence and joy. I understood that besides the verse's explicit meaning, an allusive meaning had consoled me so that I had found tranquillity and serenity.
 Yes, its explicit meaning says to the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace): "If the people of misguidance turn away, shun your Shari'a and Practices and do not heed the Qur'an, do not worry. Say: 'Almighty God is enough for me. I place my trust in Him. He will raise up others in your place who will follow me. The throne of His rule encompasses everything; the rebellious cannot escape outside its bounds, nor do those who seek assistance remain unaided.'" While its allusive meaning says this:
 "O man! And O leader and guide of mankind! If all beings leave you and depart for non-existence on the road of transience; if living beings part from you and hasten down the road of death; if people abandon you and enter the graveyard; if the people of neglect and misguidance do not heed you and fall into darkness; do not be anxious. Say: Almighty God suffices me. Since He exists, everything exists. And so, those who have departed have not gone to non-existence; they have departed for another of His realms. And out of His infinite generosity and from among His innumerable soldiers, that Owner of the Sublime Throne sends others in their place. And those who have entered the graveyard have not been annihilated; they have departed for another world. He will send other officials in their place. And He can send obedient servants who follow the true path in place of those who fall into misguidance. Since it is thus, He takes the place of everything. All things cannot take the place of His regard and attention."
 And so, by means of this allusive meaning, the three awesome corpses which filled me with terror took on another form. They became a wisdom-displaying passage, an instructive excursion, a journeying for the performance of duties, a demobilization and a charging with duties, whereby the universe is shaken up, and comes and goes.
 The sublime verse,
 Say: "If you do love God, follow me: God will love you 
 proclaims in definite fashion just how necessary and important it is to
  1. 84

follow the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH). Yes, among the syllogisms of logic, this verse is the most powerful and certain of the sort called hypothetical or conditional syllogisms. It is as follows:

 As an example of a hypothetical syllogism it is said in logic: "If the sun comes out, it will be daytime." For a positive result it is said: "The sun has come out. It therefore points to the conclusion that it is now daytime." For a negative result, it is said: "It is not daytime. One therefore draws the conclusion that the sun has not come out." According to logic, these two conclusions, negative and positive, are definite.
 In just the same way, the above verse says: "If you love God, you will follow God's Beloved. If you do not follow him, it points to the conclusion that you do not love God." If a person loves God, it entails following the Practices of God's Beloved. Yes, one who believes in Almighty God will certainly obey Him. And the most acceptable, the most direct, and the shortest among the ways of obeying Him is without doubt the way God's Beloved showed and followed.
 Yes, it is necessary and self-evident that the All-Generous One of Beauty, Who fills the universe with so many bounties, should want thanks from conscious creatures in return for the bounties. And clearly that All-Wise One of Glory, Who adorns the universe with so many miracles of art, will make the most excellent of conscious creatures His addressee and interpreter, and herald and leader of His servants. And certainly and self-evidently that All-Beauteous One of Perfection, Who makes the universe reflect the innumerable manifestations of His beauty and perfections, will give the most perfect worshipful stance to the one who is the most comprehensive and perfect measure and means of displaying His beauty, perfection, Names, and art, which He clearly loves and wants to display; He will make his conduct a fine example to others and encourage them to follow him so that his fine conduct may appear in others too.
 I n S h o r t : Love of God necessitates and results in following the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH). How fortunate the person whose share of following them is great! And woe on the person who does not appreciate the Practices and embarks on innovations!
 The Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) said: "All innovations are misguidance, and all misguidance leads to Hell."5 That is to say, according to the verse,
 5. Muslim, Jum'a 43; Abu Da'ud, Sunna 5; Nasa'i, Idayn 22; Ibn Maja, Muqaddima 6, 7; Darimi, Muqaddima 16, 23; Musnad iii, 310, 371; iv, 126, 127.
  1. 85
 This day have I perfected for you your religion,6
 not to care for the rules of the Illustrious Shari'a and principles of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) after they have been completed and perfected, and adopt new creations, or God forbid, create innovations, which infers considering them to be deficient, is misguidance, it is the Fire.
 There are degrees in the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH): some are compulsory; these may not be given up. This sort are described in detail in the Illustrious Shari'a. They are incontestable and can in no way be changed. Another sort are voluntary, and these are of two sorts:
 One sort are those Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) that concern worship. They too are described in the books of the Shari'a, and to change them is innovation. The other sort are called "conduct" (Adab), and are mentioned in the books of the Prophet's biography. Opposition to them cannot be called innovation, but it is opposition of a sort to the Prophet's conduct and means not benefiting from their light and true courtesy. This sort is to follow the Noble Prophet's (Upon whom be blessings and peace) actions in customary, natural acts and dealings, which are known through unanimous reports. For example, there are numerous Practices showing the conduct of speaking, and explaining the principles of the conduct of eating, drinking, and sleeping, and concerning social intercourse. Practices of this sort are called "conduct." One who follows this conduct transforms his habitual actions into worship and receives significant effulgence from the conduct. Practising the smallest aspect of such conduct recalls the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and imparts a light to the heart.
 The most important among the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) are those which are the symbols of Islam and connected with the 'marks of Islam.' The marks of Islam are worship, concern the community, and quite simply are general rights of a sort. As the whole community benefits from one person doing them, so on the person giving them up, the whole community is responsible. There can be no hypocrisy in the performance of marks of this sort, and they should be proclaimed. Even if they are of the voluntary sort, they are still more important than personal obligatory acts.
 The Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) are courtesy. There is no matter among them beneath which a light, and courtesy, is not to be found. The Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) said: "My Sustainer
 6. Qur'an, 5:3.
  1. 86

taught me good conduct, and how well he taught me."7 Yes, one who studies the Prophet's biography and knows his Practices will certainly understand that Almighty God gathered together in His Beloved all the varieties of courtesy and good conduct. One who gives up the Practices abandons courtesy. He verifies the rule, "The ill-mannered person is deprived of Divine favour," and is discourteous in a way that causes him loss.

 Q u e s t i o n : How can there be courtesy in the face of the Knower of All Things, Who sees and knows everything and from Whom nothing can be hidden? Situations which cause shame or embarrasment cannot be concealed from Him. One sort of courtesy is covering the necessary members and veiling states which are distasteful. But nothing can be hidden from the sight of the Knower of All Things.
 T h e A n s w e r : 
 Firstly: Giving it the greatest importance, the Glorious Creator wants to show His art as beautiful; He veils detestable things; and He attracts attention to His bounties by decorating them. So too, He wants to show His creatures and servants as beautiful to other conscious beings. Their appearing in ugly situations is a sort of rebellion against His Names like Beauteous, Adorner, Subtle, and Wise, and is contrary to courtesy. Thus, the courtesy of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) is to assume a manner of pure courtesy within the bounds of the Glorious Maker's Names.
 Secondly: As a doctor, a doctor may examine the most private member of someone who is canonically a stranger to him, and if necessary it may be shown to him, and this may not be said to be discourteous. Indeed, it may be said that the conduct of medicine requires this. But the same doctor may not examine such a private member as a man, or under the title of preacher or teacher, and courtesy cannot issue a fatwa permitting it to be shown. To show it to him in such a way would be shameless.
 In just the same way, the Glorious Maker has numerous Names, and each Name has a different manifestation. For example, just as the Name of Oft-Forgiving requires the existence of sins and Veiler, the existence of faults, so too, the Name of Beauteous does not wish to see ugliness. Names pertaining to Divine beauty and perfection like Subtle, Munificent, All-Wise, and All-Compassionate require that beings be in the most beautiful form and best possible situations. And those Names pertaining to beauty and perfection want to display their beauties in the view of angels, spirit beings, jinn and man through the beautiful states and fine
 7. al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir i, 224; Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu' Fatawa xviii, 375; al-Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa i, 70.
  1. 87

conduct of beings. Thus, the conduct of the Practices are the signs of this elevated conduct, and its principles and samples.

 Following the verse, Now has come to you a Prophet (to the end of the verse), which shows the Noble Prophet's (Upon whom be blessings and peace) perfect kindness and compassion towards his Community, the verse, But if they turn away, say: "God suffices me..." says:
 "O mankind! And O Muslims! You should understand how lacking in conscience it is and how unreasonable to turn away from the Practices and the decrees the Noble Prophet (PBUH) conveys as though casting aspersions on his self-evident compassion, for he guides you with infinite kindness, expending all his strength for your benefit, and curing with his Practices your spiritual wounds.
 "And O compassionate Prophet and clement Messenger! If they do not recognize this vast compassion of yours and out of their foolishness, turn their backs and do not listen to you, do not be anxious. The All-Glorious One, under Whose command are the cohorts of the heavens and earth, and the sovereignty of Whose dominicality rules over the Sublime all-encompassing Throne, is sufficient for you. He will muster around you His true, obedient troops, and make them heed you and accept your decrees!"
 Yes, there is no matter of the Shari'a of Muhammad and Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) in which is not found numerous instances of wisdom. This wretched one claims and is ready to prove this, despite all his faults and impotence. Furthermore, the seventy to eighty parts of the Risale-i Nur so far written are like seventy to eighty truthful witnesses testifying to how full of wisdom and truth are the matters of the Practices of Muhammad and his Shari'a (Upon whom be blessings and peace). If I was capable of it and they had been written, not seventy treatises on this subject, but seven thousand could not completely describe those instances of wisdom.
 Moreover, I have observed and experienced perhaps a thousand times in my own self that the principles and matters of the Shari'a and Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) are each most beneficial remedies for sicknesses of the spirit, mind, and heart, and particularly for social sicknesses, and that matters put forward by philosophy cannot take their place, and to an extent I have made known to others in the Risale-i Nur what I have experienced. If anyone doubts this claim of mine, let them refer to the parts of the Risale-i Nur and see for themselves.
  1. 88
 It may be seen from this just how profitable it is to try to follow as far as is possible the Practices of such a person, and how advantageous for eternal life, and how beneficial for worldly life.
 Actually following to the letter every aspect of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) is only bestowed on the highest of the elite. If it is not possible to follow them in practice, everyone can seek to do so by intention, purpose, and by supporting them and being biased towards them. In any event one is compelled to follow the obligatory and compulsory sorts. And even if there is no sin involved in giving up the Practices which are 'recommended', it results in considerable loss of merit. And if they are changed, it is a great error. When the Practices are followed in habitual actions and dealings, such acts become worship. While if they are not followed, it is not to be reproved, but the benefit from the light of the daily conduct of God's Beloved is less.
 New creations in the ordinances concerning worship are innovation, and since innovations are opposed to the verse, 
 This day have I completed for you your religion, 
 they are rejected. But if they are the recitations and invocations of the Sufi way, on condition their origins are the Book and Sunna, and even if they are in different forms and manners, their basis and principles do not oppose the Practices of the Prophet or change them, they are not innovations. Certainly some scholars classed a number of these as innovations, but called them "commendable innovations." Imam-i Rabbani, the Regenerator of the Second Millenium, (May God be pleased with him) said: 
 "On my spiritual journeying, I saw that words narrated from the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) were luminous, shining with the rays of his Practices. Whereas when I saw brilliant and powerful invocations and states not narrated from him, there was no light on them. The most brilliant of this sort was not equal to the least of the first sort. I understood from this that the rays of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) are an elixir. Also, for those seeking light, the Practices are sufficient; there is no need to seek light outside them."
 This statement of a hero of reality and the Shari'a such as that shows that the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) are the foundation stone of the happiness of both worlds and the source and spring of all attainment and perfection.
 O God! Bestow on us the ability to follow the Illustrious Practices of the Prophet (PBUH).
  1. 89

O our Sustainer! We believe in what You have revealed to Your Prophet; then write us down among those who bear witness.8

 In the verse,
 Say: "If you do love God, follow me: God will love you
 is a miraculous conciseness, for many phrases have been included in these three phrases. It is as follows:
 The verse says: "If you believe in God (May His Glory be exalted), you will surely love Him. Since you love God, you will act in the manner He loves. To do that, you must resemble the one God loves. And he may be resembled by following him. Whenever you follow him, God will love you too. Anyway you have to love God so that He shall love you."
 These phrases form only a brief and concise meaning of the verse. It means that the most exalted goal for man is to receive Almighty God's love. The verse shows that the way of achieving this elevated aim is by following God's Beloved and his Practices. If at this station Three Points are proved, the above truth will become completely clear.
 F i r s t P o i n t : Man was created with an infinite innate love for the universe's Creator. For included in human nature is love of beauty, worship of perfection, and love of bestowal. His love increases in accordance with the degrees of beauty, perfection, and bestowal, reaching the furthest degrees of ecstatic love.
 Furthermore, contained in tiny man's tiny heart may be a love as great as the universe. Yes, the fact that writings equivalent to a library of thousands of books may be inscribed in the faculty of memory, which is a coffer of the heart's the size of a lentil, shows that the human heart may contain the universe and bear love that great.
 Since human nature has such an infinite capacity to love bestowal, beauty, and perfection; and since the universe's Creator possesses infinite sacred beauty, the certain existence of which is self-evidently established by His works to be seen in the universe; and since He possesses infinite holy perfection, the existence of which is necessarily proved by the embroideries of His art apparent in beings; and since He is the owner of infinite bounties, the existence of which is certainly, indeed, observedly, established by the infinite varieties of His bestowal and bounties to be observed in living creatures; these surely demand infinite love from man, who is the most comprehensive, the most needy, the most thoughtful, and the most yearning of conscious beings.
 8. Qur'an, 3:53.
  1. 90
 Indeed, all human beings are capable of infinite love for the All-Glorious Creator, and in the face of His beauty, perfection, and bestowal, the Creator is more deserving than anyone to be loved. All the varieties of love and intense attachment a believing human being has for his life, immortality, and existence, his world, his self, and other beings, are droplets of his capacity to love God. His various intense emotions are transformations of that capacity of his to love, and distillations of it in other forms. It is clear that just as man takes pleasure at his own happiness, so does he receive pleasure at the happiness of others to whom he is attached. And just as he loves one who saves him from disaster, so does he love one who saves those he loves. As a consequence of this state of mind, if a person thinks only of this out of all the varieties of Divine bounties bestowed on all men, he would say: 
 "My Creator saved me from non-existence, which is eternal darkness, and gave me a beautiful world like this one. Then when the time comes for me to die, He will again save me from non-existence, which is eternal extinction, and from annihilation, and bestow on me in an eternal realm an everlasting and most magnificent world. And like He has bestowed on me external and inner senses and feelings with which to benefit from all the varieties of delights and good things of that world and to roam around it and make excursions, so He also bestows innumerable bounties on all my relations and friends and fellow-men, whom I much love and to whom I am attached. Those bounties are also mine in a way, because I am happy and received pleasure at their happiness. Since in accordance with the rule, 'Man is the slave of bestowal,' everyone in a sense worships benevolence, certainly in the face of such innumerable favours, since I have a heart as great as the universe, it necessitates its being filled with love at those favours, and I want to fill it. If in fact I am unable to love that much, I can do so through capacity, by intention, by belief, by acceptance, appreciation, longing, taking the part of, and by will." And so on.
 Analogies may be drawn with the love for bestowal we have briefly alluded to here for the love man feels for beauty and perfection. As for the unbelievers, they are infinitely hostile because of their unbelief, and even bear a wrongful and insulting enmity towards the universe and beings.
 S e c o n d P o i n t : Love of God necessitates following the Practices of Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace). For to love God is to do what pleases Him. And the things that please Him are manifested in most perfect form in the person of Muhammad (PBUH). There are two aspects of resembling Muhammad's (PBUH) actions and deeds. 
  1. 91
 The First: Obeying Almighty God's commands in respect of loving Him and within the bounds of what pleases Him necessitates following them, for the most perfect leader in such matters is the person of Muhammad (PBUH).
 The Second: Since the person of Muhammad (PBUH) is a most important means to innumerable Divine favours for man, he is surely worthy of boundless love for the sake of Almighty God. If man is capable of resembling someone he loves, by nature he wants to do so. This definitely necessitates that those who love God's Beloved try to resemble him by following his Illustrious Practices.
 T h i r d P o i n t : Almighty God has boundless love, just as He has infinite compassion. As He makes Himself loved in infinite fashion through all the fine qualities and adornment of the creatures in the universe, so He also loves in particular conscious beings who respond with love to His making His artefacts loved. It may be clearly understood how important and exalted an aim it is to try to attract the love of a Being one manifestation of Whose mercy are all the subtle wonders and good things and delights and bounties of Paradise. Since it is stated clearly that His love is won only through following the Practices of Muhammad (PBUH), it is certain that it should be man's greatest aim and his most important duty.
 This consists of Three Matters.
 F i r s t M a t t e r : The sources of the Noble Prophet's Illustrious Practices are three: his words, his acts, and his conduct. And there are three categories of each of these three: obligatory, voluntary, and laudable.
 It is imperative to follow those that are obligatory and compulsory, and there are penalties and punishment for giving them up. Everyone is charged with following them. As for the voluntary sort, as laudable, the believers are again charged with following them, but there is no penalty or punishment for giving them up. However, there is great merit in acting in accordance with them and following them. And to change them is innovation, misguidance, and a great error. To follow and imitate the Prophet's customary actions is extremely laudable and in accordance with wisdom, and is beneficial for both personal life and social life and for human kind. For in all his habitual actions are numerous things beneficial for life, and furthermore, through following them, such conduct and actions become like worship.
 Yes, since as both friend and foe agree, the person of Muhammad (PBUH) manifested the highest degrees of moral virtues; and since as all
  1. 92

are agreed, he is the most famous and excellent individual in the human race; and since as indicated by his thousands of miracles, and testified to by the World of Islam that he founded and its achievements, and affirmed by the truths of the Qur'an of which he was the herald and interpreter, he was the most excellent Perfect Man and most excellent guide; and since as the fruit of following him, millions of the people of perfection have advanced through the degrees of attainment and reached the happiness of both worlds; for sure his Practices and actions are the finest examples to be followed, and the safest guides, and the soundest laws to be taken as principles. Happy is the one whose share of following the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) is great. While those who are lazy and do not follow them suffer vast loss, and those who consider them to be unimportant commit a great crime, while if they criticize them, which infers denying them, it is serious misguidance.

 S e c o n d M a t t e r : Almighty God decrees in the All-Wise Qur'an,
 And you [stand] on an exalted standard of character.9
 According to sound narrations, when a distinguished Companion like Aisha the Veracious (May God be pleased with her) described the Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), she would say: "His character is the Qur'an."10 That is to say, "Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace) is the exemplar of the fine moral qualities that the Qur'an expounds. He conforms to them more than anyone, and his nature was created in accordance with them."
 Thus, while the deeds, states, words, and actions of such a person are each worthy to be a model for mankind, how unfortunate are those heedless people of his Community who believe in him yet give no importance to his Practices or want to change them-as even lunatics may understand.
 T h i r d M a t t e r : Since the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) was created with a most moderate character and in the most perfect form, his actions and rest all proceeded on moderation and equanimity. His biography shows clearly that in all his actions he proceeded with moderation and equanimity, avoiding excess and negligence.
 Yes, the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) conformed completely to the command:
 Therefore stand firm [in the Straight Way] as you are commanded,11
 9. Qur'an, 68:4.
 10. Muslim, Salatu'l-Musafirin 139; Abu Da'ud, Tatawwu' 26; Nasa'i, Tatawwu' 2; Musnad vi, 54, 91, 163, 188, 216; al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir v, 170; Ibn Hibban, Sahih i, 345; iv, 112.
 11. Qur'an, 11:112.
  1. 93

and therefore moderation is apparent in all his acts, words, and conduct. For example, free of wiliness and stupidity, which are the excess and negligence, like the corruption and darkness, of the power of reason, his reasoning faculty always worked from the point of wisdom, the middle way and means of moderation. So too, far from rage and cowardice, which are the corruption of the power of anger and its excess and negligence, his power of anger always acted with sacred courage, which is the middle way and means of moderation of that power. And so too, purified of licentiousness and frigidity, which are the excess and negligence of the power of animal appetites and its corruption, his power of passion always took chasteness, the means of moderation of that power, as guide, at the degree of maximum virtuousness. And so on... In all his Practices, daily conduct, and injunctions of his Shari'a, he chose the way of moderation, and avoided excess and negligence, and wastefulness and prodigality, which are wrongdoing and darkness. He avoided wastefulness absolutely and took frugality as his guide in his speech even, and in eating and drinking. Thousands of books have been written describing the details of this truth. In accordance with "A hint is enough for the wise," we make do with this drop from the ocean and cut the story short here.

 O God, grant blessings on the one who gathered together in his person all fine moral qualities, and manifested the mystery of, "And you [stand] on an exalted standard of character," and who said: "Whoever adheres to my Practices when my community is corrupted shall receive the reward of a hundred martyrs."
 And they shall say: "Praise be to God, Who has guided us to this [felicity]; never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of God; indeed it was the truth that the prophets of our Sustainer brought to us."12
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.13
 * * *
 12. Qur'an, 7:43.
 13. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 94


 [This consists of the explanation of two fine points concerning the Qur'an, written in connection with two minor questions put by Re'fet Bey.1] 
 In His Name, be He glorified!
 And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.
 Peace be upon you, and on your brothers, and God's mercy and blessings!
 My Dear, Loyal Brother, Re'fet Bey,
 Your questions at this difficult time put me in a difficult position. On this occasion your two questions are unimportant, but since they are connected with two points of the Qur'an and your question about the globe of the earth touches on criticisms concerning the seven levels of the earth and the heavens made by geography and astronomy, they seemed to me to be important. Therefore not considering the unimportant nature of the questions, Two Topics will be explained concerning two verses of the Qur'an, in a scholarly and general way.
 This consists of two Points.
 F i r s t P o i n t : According to the verses,
 How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? It is God Who feeds [both] them and you.2 * For God is He Who 
 1. Re'fet Barutçu 1886-1975. He first visited Bediuzzaman in Barla in 1931, and thereafter became one of his close students, serving prison sentences together with him in Eskishehir and Denizli. He was a retired yüzbashi (captain) in the army.
 2. Qur'an, 29:6.
  1. 95

gives [all] sustenance - Lord of Power, Steadfast [for ever],3

 sustenance is directly in the hand of the All-Powerful One of Glory and comes from the treasury of His mercy. Since the sustenance of all living creatures is guaranteed by the Sustainer, it should be that none dies of hunger. Whereas apparently many die of hunger and lack of food. This reality and mystery may be solved as follows:
 The Sustainer's guarantee is a reality; none die of hunger. For that All-Wise One of Glory stores up some of the sustenance He sends to the bodies of living creatures as fat, as reserves. In fact, He stores up a part of the sustenance He sends to each cell, in the cell, like a reserve stock to be spent when no sustenance comes from outside. They die before this store is finished. That is to say, such death is not from lack of sustenance; they rather die from a habit acquired through wrong choice and due to illness arising from desire for the wrong things and the giving up of habit.
 Yes, the natural sustenance stored up in the bodies of living creatures in the form of fat generally lasts perfectly well for forty days. It may even exceed twice forty days as the result of illness or certain ecstatic states. It was written in the newspapers thirteen years ago (and now it is thirty-nine) that out of extreme stubbornness, a man in prison in London managed to live quite healthily for seventy days eating nothing at all.
 Since the natural sustenance persists from forty days to seventy or eighty; and since the manifestation of the Divine Name of Provider is apparent on the face of the earth in most extensive fashion; and since foods flow forth from breasts and wood in completely unexpected fashion; if man so full of evil does not interfere with his bad desires and confuse things, that Name comes to the assistance of the living creature before the natural sustenance is consumed, and it does not open up the way to death through starvation. In which case, if those who die of hunger do so in less than forty days, it is definitely not from lack of sustenance. Rather, in accordance with the saying, "the abandoning of habit is one of those things which is fatal," it occurs either from a bad habit or from illness resulting from the giving up of habits. In which case it may be said that there is no death from hunger.
 Indeed, it may be observed that sustenance is in inverse proportion to power and will. For example, when still in the womb before coming into the world, young are completely deprived of power and will, yet are given sustenance to the extent they cannot move their mouths. Then when they come into the world, they still do not have power and will, but since
 3. Qur'an, 51:58.
  1. 96

they have some sort of ability and potential senses, needing only to fasten their mouths to the breast, given to their mouths from those fountains is the most perfect, nutritious and easily digestible sustenance, in the gentlest form and strangest way. Then as they acquire a small amount of power and will, that readily available, fine sustenance starts to be withdrawn from the infants. The fountains of the breasts dry up and their sustenance is sent from somewhere else. But since their power and will are insufficient to search for sustenance, the Munificent Provider sends their parents' tenderness and compassion to assist them. Whenever their power and will are perfected, then their sustenance does not hasten to them and is not made to do so. The sustenance remains in its place, saying: "Come and search for me and take me!" That is to say, sustenance is in inverse proportion to power and will. We have indeed explained in many parts of the Risale-i Nur that animals most lacking in will and power are better nourished and live better than those with greater will and power.

 S e c o n d P o i n t : There are different sorts of possibility, like 'reasonable possibility,' 'customary possibility,' and 'ordinary possibility.' If an event is not within the bounds of reasonable possibility, it is rejected, and if it is not within the bounds of customary possibility, it is a miracle, but may not easily be wonder-working. If it has no like, either according to common usage or in principle, it can only be accepted through categorical proof at the degree of witnessing.
 It is as a consequence of this that the extraordinary states of Sayyid Ahmad Badawi, who did not eat bread even for forty days, are within the bounds of customary possibility. It may have been both wonder-working and a habitual practice out of the ordinary. Yes, there are numerous unanimous reports concerning Sayyid Ahmad Badawi's (May his mystery be sanctified) wondrous states and absorption in ecstasy. On occasion, he ate only once in forty days, but it was not like that all the time; it was sometimes achieved through wonder-working. It is a possibility that because he did not feel the need to eat while in a state of ecstasy, it became as though habitual for him. Wonders of this sort have been reliably narrated about many saints of the kind of Sayyid Ahmad Badawi (May his mystery be sanctified). As we proved in the First Point, stored-up sustenance continues for more than forty days, and it is possible through habit not to eat for that length of time, and such a state has been reliably reported about people who were out of the ordinary. It therefore cannot be denied.
  1. 97
 TWO IMPORTANT MATTERS will be explained in connection with the second question, because since the sciences of geography and astronomy have been unable to ascend to the heavens of the Qur'an with their abbreviated laws and narrow principles and tiny scales, and since they have been unable to discover the seven levels of meanings in the stars of its verses, they have criticized the verse, and foolishly even tried to deny it.
 This is about the earth having seven levels like the heavens. This matter appears to the philosophers of the present time to be untrue; their sciences about the earth and heavens do not accept it. And making this the pretext, they oppose some of the truths of the Qur'an. We shall point out concisely a few points about this.
 T h e F i r s t : Firstly, the verse's meaning is one thing and the parts of the meaning and points confirming it, another. The meaning cannot be denied if one of the many parts of the universal meaning is absent. Of the numerous parts of the universal meaning concerning the seven levels of the heavens and seven layers of the earth, seven points confirming it are clearly apparent.
 Secondly, the verse does not explicitly state that "the earth has seven layers." The apparent meaning of the verse is,
 God is He Who created seven heavens and of the earth what is similar... (to the end of the verse):4
 "He created the earth like the seven heavens, and made it a dwelling place for His creatures." It does not say: I created it as seven levels. Its being similar is in regard to createdness and being the habitation of creatures.
 T h e S e c o n d : The globe of the earth is certainly very small in relation to the heavens, but since it is the exhibition, display, gathering place and centre of countless Divine artefacts, as a heart and immaterial centre of the vast and endless heavens, it is equivalent to them, like the heart may be seen as equivalent to the body. For this reason, the earth having seven5 climes, as was supposed from early times; also the well-known seven continents, Europe, Africa, Oceania, the two Asias, and the two America's; also together with the seas, the East, West, North, and South, the well-known seven regions of this face and on the face of the New World; also the various, contiguous seven levels from the centre to
 4. Qur'an, 65:12.
 5. The seven repetitions of the word 'seven' here makes a fine 'coincidence' (tawafuq).
  1. 98

the outer crust, which have been established by science; and the famous seven universal elements called the "seven levels", which comprise the seventy simple elements which are the means of animate creatures' lives; also the four elements of water, air, fire, and earth, together with the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, making seven levels and realms; also the seven realms of the earth established by those who uncover the secrets of creation and the people of witnessing, who are very numerous, their testimony that they are the worlds and habitations of jinns, demons, and other various sentient and living creatures; also the seven levels indicating that seven further globes exist resembling our globe, and that they are the dwelling places of living creatures-from these indications it has been understood from verses of the Qur'an that the earth too has seven levels.

 It thus becomes clear that seven sorts of levels of the earth exist in seven ways. The eighth, which is the final meaning, is important from another point of view; it is not included in the seven.
 T h e T h i r d : Since the Absolutely Wise One wastes nothing and creates nothing in vain; and since creatures exist for conscious beings and find their perfection through conscious beings and rejoice through conscious beings and are saved from futility through conscious beings; and since observedly the Absolutely Wise One and All-Powerful One of Glory inhabits the element of air, and world of water, and layer of earth with innumerable living beings; and since just as air and water are not an obstacle to the movement of animals, so also dense matter like earth and stone do not form obstacles to the passage of matter like electricity and X-rays; for sure the All-Wise One of Glory, the Undying Maker, will not leave empty and uninhabited the broad spaces and worlds and caves and seven contiguous layers from the centre of our globe to the outer crust, which is our habitation and centre. He has certainly inhabited them and created and settled there conscious beings appropriate to those worlds. Since those sentient creatures have to be sorts of angels and spirit beings, the densest and hardest layer even will be to them like the sea is to fish and the air to birds. The awesome heat at the centre of the earth even has to be for those conscious creatures like the sun's heat is for us. Created from light, fire is like light for those sentient spirit beings.
 T h e F o u r t h : Mentioned in the Eighteenth Letter is a comparison about the people of illuminations' depictions of the strange wonders of the earth's levels, which are outside the bounds of reason. A summary of it is this:
 In the Manifest Realm the globe of the earth is a seed, while in the
  1. 99

World of Similitudes and Intermediate Realm it is of a vastness equal to that of the heavens. If the people of illumination have seen a level in the earth particular to demons which has a breadth of a thousand years, it is not in the seed of the earth which pertains to the Manifest World; it is rather a manifestation of its branches and levels in the World of Similitudes. Since an apparently insignificant level of the earth has such a vast manifestation in another world, surely it may be said that it has seven levels which are equivalent of the seven levels of the heavens. In order to call to mind the above points, the Qur'an's verses allude to them through showing in a miraculously concise way that the tiny earth is the equivalent of the seven levels of the heavens.

 The seven heavens and the earth and all that is in them extols and glorifies Him (to the end of the verse)6 * And has applied His design to the heavens and fashioned them into seven heavens, and He has full knowledge of all things.7
 Numerous verses like these describe the heavens as seven heavens. It is appropriate to write here only a summary of this matter, which we expounded of necessity extremely briefly in the commentary Isharatu'l-I'jaz (Signs of Miraculousness), while on the front in the first year of Great War. It is as follows:
 Former philosophy conceived of the heavens as nine; accepting in the tongue of the Shari'a the Throne of God and Seat of God together with the seven heavens, they depicted the heavens in strange manner. The glittering terms of the brilliant philosophers of that time held mankind under their sway for many centuries. Many Qur'anic commentators were compelled to make the apparent meanings of verses conform to their school. In this way the All-Wise Qur'an's miraculousness was veiled to an extent. As for the new philosophy, called modern philosophy, in the face of the excesses of ancient philosophy about the heavens, it went to the other extreme and quite simply denied the existence of the heavens. The former went to excess and the latter were deficient; they were unable to portray reality in its entirety.
 As for the sacred wisdom of the All-Wise Qur'an, it left aside such excess and negligence, and choosing the middle way said that the All-Glorious Maker created the seven levels of the heavens. The planets swim in the heavens like fish and glorify God. It is said in a Hadith: "The
 6. Qur'an, 17:44.
 7. Qur'an, 2:29.
  1. 100

skies are waves held back."8 That is, "the heavens are an ocean the waves of which are stationary."

 And so, we shall prove this truth of the Qur'an extremely briefly through seven rules and seven aspects of meaning.
 First Rule: It is established by science and philosophy that limitless space is not an infinite vacuum, but filled with matter called ether.
 The Second: It is established by science and reason, and indeed by observation, that the bond of the laws governing the heavenly bodies like those of attraction and repulsion, and the conductor and transmitter of forces in matter like light, heat, and electricity is a matter which fills space.
 The Third: It has been established empirically that together with remaining as ether, like other matter, it has various forms and formations. Just as there are three states of the same matter, liquid, gas and solid, like steam, water, and ice, so too there is nothing to reasonably prevent ether having seven states or levels; it cannot be objected to in any way.
 The Fourth: If the heavenly bodies are studied carefully, it will be seen that there is a difference in the levels. The level which contains the vast cloud-like sphere called the Milky Way of course does not resemble the level of the fixed stars. It is as if the level of fixed stars have ripened and matured like the fruits of summer, while the uncountable stars apparent in the form of a cloud in the Milky Way are constantly emerging and beginning to mature. According to accurate conjecture, the level of fixed stars also appears different to the level of the solar system. And so on. One may adduce seven systems and seven levels which differ from one another.
 The Fifth: It is established by conjecture, sense, inductive reasoning, and experience that if a material is given order and form and if other artefacts are made from the material, it becomes various levels and forms. For example, when a diamond mine is begun to be worked, from the material both ashes and coal and diamonds are produced. And for example, when fire is begun to be formed, it separates into the levels of flame, smoke, and embers. And for example, when water and oxygen are combined, levels like water, ice, and steam are formed. That is to say, it is understood that when a single substance is worked, it may separate into levels. In which case, when Creative Power starts to work in the substance called ether, in accordance with the verse, and fashioned them into seven heavens, it created from it seven sorts of heavens as differing levels.
 8. Tirmidhi, Tafsir of 58th Sura 1; Musnad ii, 370; al-Mubarakfuri, Tuhfatu'l-Ahwazi 3352; al-Haythami, Majma'u'z-Zawa'id viii, 132.
  1. 101
 The Sixth: The above indications necessarily indicate both the existence, and the plurality, of the heavens. Since the heavens are certainly numerous, and through the tongue of the Qur'an the Bringer of Sure News stated that they are seven, for sure they are seven.
 The Seventh: Since in Arabic, terms like seven, seventy, and seven hundred express multiplicity, those universal seven levels may comprise multiple levels.
 I n S h o r t : The All-Powerful One of Glory created the seven heavens from ether, and forming it into levels, ordered it with a truly fine and wondrous order and sowed the stars in it. Since the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition is a pre-eternal address speaking to all the classes of all mankind and the jinn, for sure each of those classes will receive its share from the Qur'an's verses and its verses will contain various and numerous meanings, both explicit and implicit, in a way that will satisfy the understanding of each.
 Yes, the breadth of the Qur'anic address and the comprehensiveness of its meanings and indications and its conforming to and flattering all the degrees of understanding from the most uneducated common people to the highest of the elite shows that all its verses have an aspect which looks to each class. Thus, as a consequence of this mystery, as an example, seven classes of men understand as follows the meaning of seven various levels from the universal meaning "seven heavens:" 
 A short-sighted and narrow-minded class of men understands the atmosphere from the verse and fashioned them into seven heavens. While another class of men befogged by astronomy understands the famous stars known popularly as the Seven Planets, and their orbits. Yet another group understands seven celestial globes resembling our globe, which are inhabited by living creatures. A further group of men understands the solar system being separated into seven levels, and seven solar systems together with our system. And yet another group undertands the ether being separated into seven levels. Another class of men with broader ideas counts all the visible skies gilded with stars as a heaven, and saying that it is this world's heaven, understands that there are six levels of heavens besides it. And mankind's seventh and highest class do not consider the seven heavens to be restricted to the Manifest World, and understands that the Worlds of the Hereafter and the Unseen, and this World, and the World of Similitudes all have seven heavens, each of which is an encompassing container and roof.
 Similarly, there are many further particular meanings in the universal of the verse, like the above-mentioned seven levels of meaning of the
  1. 102

seven levels. Everyone receives his share according to his understanding and everyone finds his sustenance at that heavenly table.

 Since the verse has thus numerous points confirming it, the unreasoning philosophers and foolish astronomers attacking the verse in that way on the pretext of denying the heavens is like silly children throwing stones at a star in the hope of making it fall. Because if one of the points confirming it from the verse's universal meaning is correct, the universal meaning is correct and true. A particular even which is not literally true but is commonly accepted may be included in the universal meaning in order to conform to the generally held ideas. Whereas we saw numerous particulars which are right and true. Now look at this unfair, unjust geography and drunken intoxicated astronomy: how wrong these two sciences have been, closing their eyes to the universal meaning, which is right and correct and true, and not seeing the aspects which confirm it and are absolutely right; they have fancied an imaginary and extraordinary particular to be the meaning of the verse and thrown stones at the verse! And they have broken their own heads and lost their belief!
 I n S h o r t : Since unbelieving materialist ideas, like jinns and satans, have been unable to ascend to the seven levels of the skies of the Qur'an, which was revealed in seven recitations, and with seven aspects, seven sorts of miraculousness, seven truths, and seven pillars, they do not know what there is and what there is not in the stars of its verses, and give false and inaccurate reports. And falling stars like the above discussion descend on their heads from the stars of those verses and scorch them. Yes, the heavens of the Qur'an cannot be ascended to through the jinn-like ideas of philosophy. The stars of its verses can only be risen to through the ascension of true wisdom and the wings of belief and Islam.
 O God! Grant blessings to the Sun of the skies of prophethood and Moon of the firmament of messengerhood, and to his Family and Companions, the stars of guidance for the rightly-guided.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.
 O God! O Sustainer of the Heavens and Earth! Adorn the hearts of the translator of this treatise and his companions with the stars of the truths of the Qur'an and belief. Amen
 * * *
  1. 103


 This explains the meaning of the phrase, I seek refuge with God from Satan the Accursed.
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 And say: O My Sustainer, I seek refuge with You from the whisperings of the Evil Ones, * and I seek refuge with you, my Sustainer, lest they should come near me.1
 [This is about seeking refuge with God from Satan. Thirteen Indications will be written. Some of the Indications have been explained and proved in various places in the Twenty-Sixth Word and other parts of the Risale-i Nur so here will be discussed only briefly.]
 Q u e s t i o n : Although evil spirits do not interfere in the universe in any way in regard to creation, and through His mercy and favour Almighty God takes the part of the people of truth, and the attractive beauties and virtues of truth and reality strengthen and encourage the people of truth, and the repulsive ugliness of misguidance revolts the people of misguidance, what is the reason for Satan's party very often gaining the upper hand; what is the wisdom in it? And what is the reason for the people of truth always seeking refuge with God from Satan's evil?
 T h e A n s w e r : The wisdom and purpose is this: for the most part, misguidance and evil are negative, destructive, and pertain to non-existence. While in the great majority of cases, guidance and good
 1. Qur'an, 23:97-8.
  1. 104

are positive, constructive, repairing, and pertain to existence. Everyone knows that one man can destroy in one day a building made by twenty men in twenty days. Yes, although human life continues through the existence of all the basic members and conditions of life, and is particular to the All-Glorious Creator's power, through severing a member, a tyrant may make the person manifest death, which is non-being in relation to life. The saying "Destruction is easy" has for this reason become proverbial.

 It is because of this that the people of misguidance sometimes triumph over the people of truth who are most powerful with what is in reality a weak force. But the people of truth possess a stronghold so unassaillable that when they take refuge in it, those fearsome enemies cannot draw close; they can do nothing. If they cause some temporary harm, according to the verse, 
 And the end is [best] for the righteous,2
 everlasting reward and profit make up for the damage. And that impregnable stronghold, that fortified citadel, is the Shari'a of Muhammad (PBUH) and his Practices.
 Q u e s t i o n : The creation of devils, who are pure evil, and their harassing the people of belief, and many people not believing and going to Hell because of them, appears to be terrible and ugly. How does the mercy and beauty of the Absolutely Beauteous One, the Absolutely Compassionate One, the Truly Merciful One, permit this infinite ugliness and awesome calamity? Many people have asked about this question, and it occurs to many people.
 T h e A n s w e r : In addition to the minor evils, there are numerous universal good purposes in the existence of Satan, and human attainments and perfections. Yes, however many degrees there are from a seed to a huge tree, the abilities lodged in human nature are more numerous. There are degrees from a minute particle to the sun. For these abilities and potentialities to develop, action is required, a transaction is necessary. The action of the mechanism of progress in such a transaction is brought about through striving. And striving occurs through the existence of evil spirits and harmful things. Otherwise man's station would have been constant like that of the angels. There would have been no classes in human kind, which resembles thousands of species. And it is contrary to wisdom and justice to abandon a thousand instances of good so as to avoid one minor evil.
 2. Qur'an, 7:128, etc
  1. 105

For sure the majority of people embrace misguidance due to Satan, but importance and value look mostly to quality; they look to quantity little or not at all. If someone has a thousand and ten seeds which he buries, and under the earth the seeds undergo a chemical reaction as a result of which ten become trees and a thousand rot, the profit the man receives from the ten seeds which have become trees certainly reduces to nothing the loss he suffers from the thousand rotted ones. In exactly the same way, through the struggle against the soul and Satan, the profit, honour, enlightenment, and value for human kind gained by ten perfect men, who are like stars, certainly reduce to nothing the harm caused to mankind through the people of misguidance embracing unbelief, who are so base as to be thought of as vermin. Since this is so, Divine mercy, wisdom, and justice have permitted the existence of Satan, and allowed him to molest men.

 O people of belief! Your armour against this awesome enemy is the fear of God fashioned on the workbench of the Qur'an. And your shield is the Practices of the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace). And your weapon, seeking refuge with God from Satan, and seeking forgiveness, and taking refuge in Divine protection.
 Q u e s t i o n : The very great complaints and massing of forces against the people of misguidance in the All-Wise Qur'an does not appear to the reason to be conformable with its equitable and apt eloquence and the congruence and moderation of its style. It is quite simply as though it is mustering armies against a single man. And it threatens him on account of one minor action as though he had committed thousands of crimes. And it affords him a position and complains about him as though he was an aggressive partner, despite his being bankrupt and having no share of the property. What is the reason for this and the wisdom in it?
 T h e A n s w e r : The reason and wisdom in it is this: because the evil spirits and those who follow them take the path of misguidance, they can cause great destruction with a small act, and they can violate the rights of many creatures and cause much harm with a small deed.
 For example, through some small action or neglecting a small duty, a man on the large merchant ship of a king can be the cause of all the efforts of those employed on the ship and all the fruits of their labour being lost and going for nothing. The illustrious owner of the ship therefore complains about and threatens the rebellious man in awesome fashion on account of all his subjects who are connected with the ship. And he inflicts a terrible punishment on him, taking into account not his
  1. 106

insignificant action but its dreadful results, not in his own name but in that of the rights of his subjects.

 In exactly the same way, through their apparently insignificant mistakes and sins, the people of misguidance, Satan's party, who are on the ship of the earth together with the people of guidance, transgress against the rights of numerous creatures and nullify the results of their elevated duties. The Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity's awesome threats and complaints about them, therefore, and His mobilization of forces against them are pure wisdom within perfect eloquence, and are most apt and appropriate. And it is in conformity with the requirements of the situation, which is the definition of eloquence and its basis. And it is free of exaggeration, which is wastefulness in words.
 It is clear that the state of one who does not take refuge in a secure stronghold in the face of terrible enemies who wreak much destruction with little action, will be wretched. And so, O people of belief! That heavenly stronghold of steel is the Qur'an. Enter it and be saved!
 Investigative scholars and the people of illumination have agreed that non-existence is pure evil and existence, pure good. Yes, in the great majority of cases, good, virtues, and perfections are based on existence and are related to it. Even if they are superficially negative and hint of non-existence, their basis is in existence and pertains to it. While the basis and leaven of all ugliness, like misguidance, evil, calamities, and sins, is non-existence and denial. Their badness and ugliness arise from non-existence. Even if they appear superficially to be positive and pertaining to existence, at basis they are non-existence and denial.
 Also, observedly, the existence of something like a building is established through the existence of all its parts. While its destruction, non-existence, and annihilation occurs through the non-being of one of its main parts. Furthermore, existence requires an existent cause, it is based on a cause which has an actual reality. Whereas non-existence may be based on things which pertain to non-existence. Such things may be the cause of something non-existent.
 It is as a consequence of this rule that despite the awesome destruction in the universe of devils from among jinn and men, and the varieties of unbelief, misguidance, evil, and destruction they perpetrate, just as they do not interfere one iota in creation, so too they can have no share in Divine sovereignty. And they do not carry out those works through any power or ability; rather than power and action in many of the things they
  1. 107

do, it is neglect and abstaining from action. They commit evils through not allowing good to be done, that is, they become evil. For since bad and evil are a sort of destruction, their causes do not have to be an existent power and active creativity. Rather, vast destruction comes about through one command pertaining to non-existence and one condition being spoilt.

 It is because the Zoroastrians did not develop this mystery that they believed that there was a creator of good in the universe, called Yazdan, and a creator of evil, called Ahriman. However, the imaginary god of evil they called Ahriman was Satan, who causes evil through the power of choice and the power to act, which possess no ability to create.
 And so, O people of belief! Your most effective weapon and equipment for repairs in the face of this awesome destruction of Satan is seeking forgiveness from God, and through saying, "I seek refuge with God," to have recourse to Him. And your stronghold is the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH).
 Together with pointing out to mankind in the revealed scriptures great rewards like Paradise and terrible punishments like Hell, Almighty God gives guidance, and many admonishments and reminders, and threats and encouragement. Despite there being so many means guiding them to the straight path, the people of belief are defeated in the face of the feeble, repellent stratagems of Satan's party, which are without merit. At one time this caused me much thought. How is it, I wondered, that while they believe, they pay no attention to Almighty God's severe threats? Why is belief not sufficient? According to the verse, 
 Feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan,3 
 they are carried away by Satan's baseless wiles, and rebel against God. Some of my own friends, even, although they sincerely affirmed the teachings about reality they had received from me a hundred times and had an excessively good opinion of me and relations with me, they were carried away by the unimportant and hypocritical compliments of a corrupt person, and assumed a position in favour of him and against me. "Glory be to God!," I exclaimed, "can man fall so low? What a false man he was." I slandered the man and committed a sin.
 Later, the reality explained in the previous Indications became clear and illuminated many obscure points. Thanks be to God, through its light I understood both that the All-Wise Qur'an's powerful encouragement and assurances are completely in place, and that the people of belief
 3. Qur'an, 4:76.
  1. 108

being deceived by Satanic machinations is not due to lack of belief or weakness of belief. I understood too that one who commits grievous sins does not become an unbeliever, and that the Mu'tazilites and some Kharijite sects are in error by stating that "Someone who commits a grievous sin either becomes an unbeliever or is in a state between belief and unbelief," and that that unfortunate friend of mine sacrificing a hundred lessons in reality to win the attentions of such a scoundrel was not despicable abasement and degeneration; I thanked Almighty God and was saved from the abyss. Because as I said before, through some insignificant matter pertaining to non-existence, Satan throws man into serious peril. Moreover, man's soul always listens to Satan. And his powers of anger and animal appetites are like both receivers and transmitters of Satan's whisperings.

 It is because of this that Almighty God's Names like Oft-Forgiving and All-Compassionate are turned to the people of belief with a maximum manifestation. And He shows in the All-Wise Qur'an that His greatest bounty to the prophets is forgiveness and calls on them to seek forgiveness. Through repeating the blessed words, In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate at the start of every Sura and ordering it to be recited at the commencement of all good works, He shows that His all-encompassing mercy embraces the universe and is a stronghold and place of refuge. And through the command, Seek refuge with God,4 He makes a shield of the phrase, I seek refuge with God from Satan the Accursed.
 One of the most dangerous stratagems of Satan is this: he makes certain sensitive and ingenuous people confuse imagining unbelief with affirming it. He shows the imagining of misguidance to be the affirmation of it. He also conjures up in their imaginations most ugly thoughts about holy individuals and sacred things. He shows also things which are essentially possible together with those that are reasonably possible, thus making those things appear to be doubts opposed to the certainty of belief. So then the wretched sensitive man supposes that he has fallen into misguidance and unbelief, and that his certainty of belief has been lost; he falls into despair and becomes the plaything of Satan. Satan works both his despair, and that weak vein of his, and his confusion, so that he either goes mad, or saying: "All is lost," he embraces misguidance. We have explained in some parts of the Risale-i Nur just how lacking in substance are these stratagems of Satan, so here we shall discuss them only briefly, as follows:
 4. Qur'an, 7:200, etc.
  1. 109
 Like a snake's image in a mirror cannot bite, nor the similitude of fire burn, nor the reflection of filth soil, neither can the reflections of unbelief and association of partners with God, and the shadows of misguidance, and the imaginings of ugly abuse and words in the mirror of the imagination or of thought corrupt belief, change faith, or damage respectful courtesy. For the well-known rule is, "In the same way that to imagine abuse is not abuse, to imagine unbelief is not unbelief and to conceive of misguidance is not misguidance."
 As for the question of doubts in belief, possibilities that are essentially possible are not opposed to the certainty of belief and do not harm it. One of the established rules of the science of the principles of religion is that "something which is of itself possible is not opposed to the certainty afforded by knowledge." For example, we are certain that Barla Lake is in its place consisting of water. Whereas it is of itself possible that the lake sank into the ground this moment. Its so sinking is within the bounds of possibility. But since this essential possibility does not arise from any indication, it cannot be a reasonable possibility and so cause doubt. For another established rule of the principles of religion is "A possibility that does not arise from any proof or evidence is of no importance." That is, "An essential possibility which does not arise from any sign cannot be a reasonable possibility and so cause doubts and warrant importance."
 Thus, the unfortunate man exposed to those Satanic whisperings supposes that due to such essential possibilities that he has lost his certain belief in the truths of belief. For example, numerous essential possibilites about the human aspects of the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) occur to him which cause no harm to the certainty of his belief, but he supposes that they have done so, and suffers harm.
 Also, sometimes Satan suggests bad things about Almighty God in the form of whisperings imparted to the heart. The man trembles, supposing that his heart is corrupted so that it says such things. But his fear and trembling and lack of consent shows that those words did not come from his heart; they rather came from Satanic whisperings, and were imparted and caused to be imagined by Satan.
 Also, among man's subtle faculties are one or two that I have been unable to specify; these do not heed the will and power of choice; indeed, they may not be held responsible. Sometimes they govern, do not listen to the truth, and enter upon wrong things. Then Satan whispers to the man: "Your capacity is not conformable with truth and belief, so you involuntarily start doing those things which are false and vain. That means your fate has condemned you to perdition." The wretched man falls into despair and perishes.
  1. 110
 And so, the believer's stronghold in the face of the former stratagems of Satan are the truths of belief and incontestable matters of the Qur'an, the limits of which have been defined by the principles of the purified exacting scholars. And in the face of the latter stratagems, the believer's stronghold is to seek refuge with God and to attach no importance to them. For the more importance is given them, the more it attracts attention to them, and they grow and swell. The believer's antidote and remedy for such spiritual wounds is following the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH). 
 Q u e s t i o n : The Mu'tazilite authorities considered the creation of evil to be evil, and therefore did not attribute the creation of unbelief and misguidance to God, as if by so doing they were exonerating God. They misguidedly said: "Man is the creator of his own actions." They also said: "A believer who commits a grievous sin loses his belief, for believing in God and affirming Hell is not compatible with committing such sins. Through fear at an insignificant prison sentence in this world, a man restrains himself from doing anything contrary to the law. So if he commits big sins which mean disregarding Divine wrath, it certainly points to his lack of belief."
 T h e A n s w e r to the first part of the question: as is elucidated in the treatise on Divine Determining,5 the creation of evil is not evil; it is rather the inclination to do evil that is evil. For creation and bringing into being look to all the results. Since the existence of one instance of evil is the introduction to numerous good results, with regard to those results, the creation of the evil becomes good, and is like good. For example, fire has a hundred good results, but certain people who through their own desire for wrong make the fire evil for themselves, cannot say that the creation of evil is evil. In the same way, the creation of devils has numerous wise results like human progress; so if a person is defeated by Satan due to his desire for wrong and mistaken inclinations, he cannot say that the creation of Satan is evil. For he did evil to himself due to his own inclination.
 Yes, since the inclination is a particular relation, it has a particular evil result, and becomes evil. But since creation looks to all the results, the creation of evil is not evil, indeed it is good. Because the Mu'tazilites did not understand this mystery, they said: "The creation of evil is evil, and the creation of bad, bad." And in order to declare Almighty God free of
 5. The Twenty-Sixth Word. See, The Words, Istanbul Sözler Neshriyat, 1992, 477-490. (Tr.)
  1. 111

all fault, they did not ascribe the creation of evil to Him; they fell into misguidance, wrongly interpreting the pillar of 'belief in Divine Determining, both the good of it and the evil of it are from God.'

 T h e A n s w e r to the second part of the question "How can someone who commits grievous sins remain a believer?": Firstly, their error has been understood clearly in the previous Indications so that there is no need to repeat it. Secondly, just as the man's evil-commanding soul prefers an ounce of immediate, present pleasure to a ton of postponed, hidden pleasure, so too he shrinks at the fear of an immediate slap more than at a year's torment in the future. Furthermore, if the emotions are dominant in a person, they do not heed the reasoning of the mind. Desires and delusions govern and he prefers the slightest and least significant present pleasure to huge reward in the future. And he flinches from some minor present distress more than from some terrible postponed torment. For desire, illusions, and emotions do not see the future, indeed, they deny it. And if the soul assists them, the heart, which is the seat of belief, and the mind, fall silent and are defeated. In which case, committing grievous sins does not arise from lack of belief, but from the defeat of the heart and mind through the predomination of emotion, desire, and illusion.
 Moreover, as is understood from the previous Indications, the way of the passions and of evil is destruction and therefore extremely easy. Satans from among jinn and men quickly drive people down that road. It is an astonishing situation, for according to Hadith,6 a light to the extent of a fly's wing from the World of Eternity is comparable with the pleasure and bounties a person receives in his entire life in this world, yet following Satan, certain unfortunates prefer the pleasures of this fleeting world, which are the equivalent of a fly's wing, to the pleasures of that eternal world, which are worth all this world.
 It is for these reasons that the All-Wise Qur'an repeatedly and insistently, and with encouragement and threats, restrains believers from sin and urges them to do good.
 One time this severe guidance of the All-Wise Qur'an gave me the idea that these continual warnings and reminders show believers to be inconstant and deficient in good. It infers a state not in keeping with man's honour. For while a single order received from his superior is sufficient for an official to obey, if the superior repeats the same order ten times, the official will be seriously offended. He will say: "You are
 6. Tirmidhi, Zuhd 13; Ibn Maja, Zuhd 3; Musnad v, 154, 177.
  1. 112

accusing me. I am not disloyal." However, the All-Wise Qur'an insistently repeats the same order to the most sincere believers.

 At the time this idea was worrying my brain, I had two or three loyal friends. I frequently used to warn and remind them, so that they would not be deceived by the machinations of satanic humans. They were not offended at me, saying I was accusing them. However I used to say to myself: "I am offending them with these continual admonitions. I am accusing them of disloyalty and inconstancy." Then suddenly the truth explained and proved in the above Indications was unfolded. I understood that the All-Wise Qur'an's insistence and repetitions were apt and exactly as required by the situation, and wise and not excessive or accusing; they were pure wisdom and pure eloquence. And I understood also the reason those loyal friends of mine were not offended. A summary of the truth is this: 
 Since evil spirits provoke people in respect of destruction, they commit much evil with few actions. Those who take the path of truth and guidance, therefore, are in need of much caution and great care and repeated warnings and various assistance. It is for this reason that Almighty God offers assistance to the people of belief through His thousand and one Names in respect of those repetitions, and stretches out thousands of hands of compassion to help them. He does not destroy their honour, but protects it. He does not lower man's value, but shows Satan's evil to be great.
 And so, O people of truth and people of guidance! The way to be saved from the above-mentioned wiles of satanic jinn and men is this: make your headquarters the school of the people of the truth, the Sunnis or Ahl-i Sunna wa'l-Jama'at; enter the stronghold of the incontestable matters of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition; and take the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) as your guide, and find salvation!
 Q u e s t i o n : You have proved in the above Indications that since the way of misguidance is easy, and is destruction and aggression, many take that way. Whereas in other parts of the Risale-i Nur you have proved decisively that the way of unbelief and misguidance is so fraught with difficulties and problems that no one should take it; that it is not possible to follow it. And you have proved that the way of belief and guidance is so easy and clear that everyone should take it.
 T h e A n s w e r : There are two sorts of unbelief and misguidance. One pertains to actions and secondary matters, and is also denial and
  1. 113

rejection of the matters of belief. This kind is misguidance is easy. It is a non-acceptance of the truth, an abdication, non-existence, and the absence of acceptance. Thus, in the Risale-i Nur, this sort has been shown to be easy.

 As for the second sort, it pertains not to actions and secondary matters, but is a judgement of the mind and pertains to belief. It does not only deny belief, but opens up a way that is the opposite of it. It is the acceptance of what is false and invalid, the proof of the reverse of truth. This is not only the denial and refutation of belief, it is its opposite. It is not non-acceptance so that it should be easy, but the acceptance of non-being, and can only be accepted through proving non-existence. In accordance with the rule "Non-existence cannot be proved," it is certainly not easy to prove it. 
 Thus, the unbelief and misguidance shown in other parts of the Risale-i Nur to be so difficult and problematic as to be impossible is this sort. Anyone with even a grain of intelligence would not take this way. Moreover, as is demonstrated, this way contains such grievous pains and suffocating darkness that anyone reasonable to the tiniest degree would not follow it. 
 I f i t i s s a i d : If this way is so grievous, dark, and difficult, why do most people take it?
 T h e A n s w e r : They have fallen into it and cannot extricate themselves. And because the animal and vegetable powers in man do not see the consequences and do not think of them, and come to dominate man's subtle faculties, they do not want to extricate themselves, and console themselves with present and temporary pleasure. 
 Q u e s t i o n : If it is asked: there is such dreadful suffering and fear in misguidance, it is not receiving pleasure from life, the unbeliever should not be able to live even. He should be crushed by the pain and be absolutely terrified. For although by reason of his humanity he desires innumerable things and loves life, due to unbelief, he constantly sees before him death as eternal extinction and everlasting separation, and the passing of beings and deaths of his friends and those he loves as annihilation and eternal parting, so how can such a man live? How can he receive pleasure from life?
 T h e A n s w e r : He deceives himself through an extraordinary sophistry of Satan's, and lives. He supposes he receives a superficial pleasure. We shall allude to the true nature of this through a well-known comparison.
  1. 114
 It is related that they said to the ostrich: "You've got wings, so fly!" But it folded its wings and said: "I'm a camel," and did not fly. So it fell into the hunter's trap, and not wanting the hunter to see it, stuck its head in the sand. However, it left its huge body in the open and was the target of the hunter. They later said to it: "Since you say you're a camel, carry loads." Whereupon it opened its wings and said: "I'm a bird," and was saved from the hardship of carrying loads. But having neither protector nor food, it was pursued by the hunters.
 In exactly the same way, the unbeliever gave up absolute unbelief in the face of the Qur'an's heavenly proclamations and descended to scepticism. If he is asked: "You think death is eternal extinction. How can a person live when he perpetually sees before him the gallows on which he is to be hanged? What pleasure can he receive?" Due to the portion he has received from the Qur'an's universal mercy and all-encompassing light, the man replies: "Death is not extinction; there is a possibility of immortality." Or else he plunges his head in the sand of heedlessness like the ostrich so that the appointed hour will not spot him and the grave will not watch him and the transience of things will not let fly their arrows at him!
 I n S h o r t : When like the ostrich he sees death and decline to be extinction, due to his scepticism, the certain news of the Qur'an and revealed scriptures concerning 'belief in the Hereafter' afford him a possibility. The unbeliever clasps onto the possibility and is not subjected to that ghastly pain. If it is then said to him: "Since one will go to an everlasting realm, for a good life there, one has to suffer the difficulties of the religious obligations here," due to his scepticism, the man says: "Perhaps there is no such world, so why should I work for something that does not exist?" That is to say, because of the possibility of immortality afforded by that decree of the Qur'an, he is saved from the pain of eternal extinction, and because of the possibility of non-existence afforded by scepticism, he is faced with the hardship of religious obligations; he clings onto the possibility of unbelief and is saved from the hardship. That is to say, from this point of view, he supposes he receives more pleasure from this life than the believers, for due to the possibility afforded by unbelief he is saved from the hardship of the religious obligations, and due to the possibility afforded by belief, he does not expose himself to everlasting pains. However, this satanic sophistry is extremely superficial, temporary, and without benefit.
 Thus, the All-Wise Qur'an has a sort of manifestation of mercy in respect of the unbelievers also which saves to a degree their lives in this
  1. 115

world from being Hell; it induces doubt in them, so they live through doubt. Otherwise they would have suffered the torments of a sort of Hell in this world too, recalling the Hell of the Hereafter, and they would have been compelled to commit suicide.

 And so, O people of belief! Fully confident and with belief enter under the protection of the Qur'an, which will save you from eternal extinction and the Hells of this world and the Hereafter. And submissively and appreciatively remain within the bounds of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH). Then you will be saved from both misery in this world and torment in the Hereafter!
 Q u e s t i o n : Why is it that the people of guidance, who are God's party, are so often defeated by the people of misguidance, who are Satan's party, despite the Glory of the World (Upon whom be blessings and peace) being at their head and their receiving so much Divine mercy and assistance and so many favours? What was the reason for the dissemblers of Medina insisting on misguidance and their not embracing guidance, despite being close to the brilliant sun-like prophethood and messengerhood of the Seal of the Prophets and the Qur'anic truths, which are more captivating than the universal laws of attraction?
 T h e A n s w e r : It is necessary to explain a profound principle in order to solve the two parts of this awesome question. It is like this: 
 The All-Glorious Creator of the universe has two sort of Names, those pertaining to His Glory and those pertaining to His Beauty. Since these Names require to demonstrate their decrees through different manifestations, the Glorious Creator blended together opposites in the universe. Bringing them face to face, he gave them aggressive and defensive positions, in the form of a sort of wise and beneficial contest. Through making the opposites transgress one another's bounds, He brought conflict and change into being, and made the universe subject to the law of change and transformation and the principles of progress and advancement. In human kind, the comprehensive fruit of the tree of creation, he made that law of contest in even stranger form, and opening the door to striving, which would be the means of all human progress, He gave Satan's party certain faculties with which to be able to challenge God's party.
 It is because of this subtle mystery that the prophets were often defeated before the people of misguidance. And the people of misguidance, who are extremely weak and impotent, temporarily triumph over the people of truth, who in reality are extremely strong, and struggle against them. The wisdom in this strange opposition is as follows:
  1. 116
 In misguidance and unbelief is both non-existence and omission, so that it is extremely easy and does not require action. There is also destruction, which is most easy, and for which little action is needed. There is also aggression, whereby much harm is caused to many with little action, and from the point of view of intimidating others and in respect of satisfying the soul's desire for power it gains rank and position for a person. And for the gratification of the vegetable and animal powers in man, which are blind to consequences and obsessed by present pleasure, there is freedom, which causes man's subtle faculties, like the heart and reason, to give up their humane and far-sighted duties.
 However, the sacred way of foremost the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), the Beloved of the Sustainer of All the Worlds, and of the people of prophethood and the people of guidance, both pertains to existence, and is certainly established, and is constructive, and is based on important principles like action and moderation and considering the consequences and worship and smashing the sovereignty and independence of the evil-commanding soul. It is because of this that the dissemblers of that time in Medina closed their eyes to that refulgent sun like bats, and surrendering themselves to a satanic force of repulsion in the face of that huge attraction, remained in misguidance.
 I f i t i s s a i d : Since the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) was the Beloved of the Sustainer of All the Worlds; and that which was in his hand was truth and on his tongue was reality; and some of the soldiers in his army were angels; and he watered a whole army with one handful of water; and he provided a feast for a thousand men with four handfuls of wheat and the meat of one kid; and he caused the army of the unbelievers to flee by throwing a handful of dust at them which entered the eyes of all of them; how is it that this dominical commander who performed a thousand miracles similar to these was defeated at the end of Uhud and at the beginning of Hunayn?
 T h e A n s w e r : The Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) was sent to mankind as the guide and leader to be followed so that men should learn the rules of social and personal life from him, become accustomed to obeying the laws of the All-Wise One of Perfection, and act in conformity with the principles of His wisdom. If the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) had always relied on wonders and miracles, he could not have been absolute guide and leader.
 It was because of this that he from time to time displayed miracles, in answer to need, only in order to make them affirm his claim to prophethood and to eliminate the unbelievers' denial. At other times he obeyed
  1. 117

the Divine commands more than anyone, and more than everyone acted in conformity with the Divine laws in creation, established through dominical wisdom and will, and submitted to them. He used to wear armour when confronting the enemy, and would order his troops to enter their trenches. He received wounds and suffered hardship. In this way he obeyed and observed to the letter the laws of Divine wisdom and the Greater Shari'a of Creation.

 One of the most cunning of Iblis's wiles is to make those who follow him deny himself. Since at this time those whose minds have been tainted by materialist philosophy in particular have been hesitant in these self-evident matters, we shall say one or two things in the face of this stratagem of Satan's. They are as follows:
 There are self-evidently corporeal evil spirits who perform Satan's functions. So too it is certain to the same degree that there are evil spirits without bodies from the jinns. If they were clothed in physical bodies, they would be the same as those evil human beings. Also, if those evil spirits in human form were able to leave aside their bodies, they would be those jinn-satans. Even, it is as a consequence of this terrible relationship that one false school pronounced: "After they have died, excessively evil spirits in human form become devils."
 It is well-known that when something of high quality is corrupted it becomes more corrupted than something of less quality. For example, if yoghurt and milk go bad they may still be eaten, but if oil goes bad it becomes inedible, and even like poison. Similarly, if the most noble, indeed the highest of creatures, man, is corrupted, he becomes more so than a corrupted animal. Like vermin who enjoy the stink of putrifying matter and snakes who take pleasure at biting and poisoning, they take pride and pleasure at the evils and corrupt morality of the swamp of misguidance, being gratified at the harms and crimes of the darkness of evil-doing; quite simply they take on the nature of Satan. Yes, a decisive indication of the existence of devils from the jinn, is the existence of human satans.
 Secondly: All the hundreds of decisive evidences proving the existence of angels and spirit beings in the Twenty-Ninth Word prove also the existence of evils spirits. We refer this aspect to that Word.
 Thirdly: The existence of the angels, who are like the representatives and supervisors of the laws of the good matters in the universe, are established and agreed upon by all the religions. So too, the existence of evil
  1. 118

and satanic spirits, who are the representatives and ushers of evil matters and the means of the laws of such matters, is required by wisdom and reality, and is certain. Indeed, in evil matters, a conscious screen is more necessary. For as is stated at the beginning of the Twenty-Second Word, since everyone cannot see the true good of everything, the All-Glorious Creator has made apparent intermediaries as a screen in respect of apparent evils and defects, so that objections should not be levelled at Him, nor His mercy be accused, nor his wisdom criticized or unjustly complained about, and so that objections, criticisms, and complaints should be directed at the screen, and not turned to the Generous Creator, the Absolutely Wise One. Just as He has made illness a screen to the appointed hour of death in order to save Azra'il from the complaints of His servants who die, so too He has made Azra'il a screen to the seizing of the spirits of the dying so that the complaints at that situation, which is fancied to be lacking in compassion, should not be directed to Almighty God. And even more certainly, dominical wisdom demanded the existence of Satan, so that objections and criticisms in the face of evils and bad things should not be directed to the All-Glorious Creator.

 Fourthly: As man is a small world, the microcosm, so is the world a large human being, the macroanthropos. Small man is an index and summary of the macroanthropos. The large originals of the samples in man will necessarily be found in the macroanthropos. For example, the existence of man's faculty of memory is a certain indication of the existence of the Preserved Tablet in the world. So too everyone has experienced in himself the inner faculty situated in a corner of the heart which is the means to diabolical suggestions and temptations and a satanic tongue which speaks through the promptings of the imagination and the corrupted power of imagination, which becomes like a small Satan and acts contrary to its owner's will and opposed to his desires-these are certain evidences to the existence of great satans in the world. And since the inner faculty which is the means to diabolical suggestions and the power of imagination are an ear and a tongue, they infer the existence of an external evil individual who blows on the one and makes the other speak.
 The All-Wise Qur'an states in miraculous fashion that the universe grows angry at the evil of the people of misguidance, and the universal elements becomes wrathful, and all beings, furious. In most awesome fashion it depicts the storm visited on the people of Noah and the assaults of the heavens and earth, the anger of the element air at the denial of the Ad and Thamud peoples, and the fury of the sea and element water at the
  1. 119

people of Pharaoh, and the rage of the element earth at Qarun, and in accordance with the verse, Almost bursting with fury,7 the vehemence and anger of Hell at the people of unbelief in the Hereafter, and the rage of the other beings at the unbelievers and people of misguidance; in miraculous fashion it restrains the people of misguidance and rebellion.

 Q u e s t i o n : Why do the unimportant actions and personal sins of unimportant men attract the anger of the universe in this way?
 T h e A n s w e r : As proved in other parts of the Risale-i Nur and in the previous Indications, unbelief and misguidance are an awesome aggression and crime that concern all beings. For one of the greatest results of the universe's creation is man's worship and his responding to Divine dominicality with belief and submission. However, due to the denial of unbelief, the people of unbelief and misguidance reject that supreme result, which is the ultimate cause of beings and the reason for their continued existence, and therefore perpetrate a sort of transgression against the rights of all beings. So too, since they deny the manifestations of the Divine Names which are apparent in the mirrors of beings, exalting their value, they insult those sacred Names, and in addition, by degrading the value of all beings, greatly detract them. And while all beings are dominical officials charged with elevated duties, through unbelief, the people of misguidance cast them down, and showing them to be lifeless, transitory, meaningless creatures, they in a way violate the rights of all of them.
 Thus, since according to its degree, the varieties of misguidance harm to a greater or lesser extent the dominical wisdom in the universe's creation and the Divine purposes in the world's continued existence, the universe becomes angry at the people of rebellion and misguidance, as do all beings and creatures.
 O wretched man, whose being is small but guilt great and sin grievous! If you want to be delivered from the wrath of the universe, the rage of beings, and the aversion of creatures, here is the means: it is to enter the sacred bounds of the All-Wise Qur'an and to follow the Practices of the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), who was the herald of the Qur'an. So enter the bounds and follow the Practices!
 This consists of four questions and answers.
 F i r s t Q u e s t i o n : How can boundless torment in an endless Hell in return for limited sins in a limited life be justice?
 7. Qur'an, 67:8.
  1. 120
 T h e A n s w e r : It was understood clearly in the above Indications, and particularly in the Eleventh, that unbelief and misguidance are an infinite crime, and transgression against innumerable rights.
 S e c o n d Q u e s t i o n : It is said in the Shari'a that Hell is punishment for actions, but Paradise is a Divine favour. What is the reason for this?
 T h e A n s w e r : It is clearly shown in the above Indications that with his faculty of will and insignificant wishes, through giving form and reality to something non-existent or theoretical, man causes awesome destruction and evils. And so too, since his soul and appetites always incline towards evil and harm, he is responsible for the evils that occur as a result of his slight wishes. For his soul wanted them and his desires gave rise to them. And since evil pertains to non-existence, the servant is the agent and Almighty God creates it. Being responsible for the infinite crime, he certainly deserves infinite punishment.
 However, since good deeds and actions pertain to existence, man's will and wishes cannot be the direct cause of their existence. Man cannot be the true agent in such an act. Also, his evil-commanding soul is not biased towards good deeds, rather, Divine mercy requires them and dominical power creates them. Man can only lay a claim to them through belief, a wish, or an intention. And having claimed them, those good works consist of thanks for the infinite Divine bounties he has received, like the bounties of belief and existence. This thanks looks to past bounties while Paradise, which as a Divine promise will be given, is a favour of the Most Merciful. Apparently it will be a reward, but in reality it is a favour.
 That is to say, in evils the soul is the cause and deserves the punishment, while in good deeds, both the cause and the occasion are from God. Man can only lay claim to them through belief. He may not say: "I want the reward," but he may say: "I hope for Divine favour."
 T h i r d Q u e s t i o n : It is understood from the above explanations that since evils become numerous through spreading and aggression, a single evil deed should be recorded as a thousand. While since they pertain to existence, good deeds do not become numerous, and since they do not occur through the servant's creation or the desires of his soul, they should not be recorded at all or they should be recorded only as one. So why are evil deeds recorded as one and good deeds as ten, and sometimes as thousands?
 T h e A n s w e r : Almighty God demonstrates His perfect mercy and the beauty of His compassionateness in that way.
  1. 121
 F o u r t h Q u e s t i o n : The successes the people of misguidance have achieved and the power they demonstrate and their victories over the people of guidance show that they rely on some power and truth. That means either that the people of guidance possess some weakness, or that they possess some truth?
 T h e A n s w e r : God forbid, neither do they possess any truth, nor the people of truth any weakness. But regretably some of the ordinary people who are short-sighted and unreasoning become doubtful and hesitant, and harm comes to their belief. For they say: "If the people of truth had possessed complete truth and reality, they should not have suffered defeat and abasement to this degree. For the truth is powerful. According to the fundamental principle "Truth is exalted and shall not be overcome,"8 power lies in truth. If the people of misguidance, who have predominated over the people of truth, had not possessed a true power and point of support, they could not have been successful and triumphed to this extent."
 T h e A n s w e r : As is proved in the above Indications, the defeat of the people of truth does not arise from lack of power and absence of truth, and as is also proved, the people of misguidance's victory does not spring from their power and capacity and their possessing some point of support; thus the answer to this question is all the above Indications. Here we shall only point out a number of the tricks and weapons they employ, as follows: 
 I myself have frequently observed that mischief-makers, who form ten per cent, defeat the righteous, who form ninety per cent. I used to be astonished and curious. Investigating, I understood certainly that their victory results not from power, but from corruption, baseness, destruction, taking advantage of differences among the people of truth, sowing conflict among them, from playing on their weak traits of character and grafting them with such traits, and exciting the emotions of the soul and personal hatred, and through working the evil capacities in human nature which are like mines of corruption, and through hypocritically flattering the soul's tyranny in the name of fame and glory, and through everyone fearing their unfeeling destruction. Through diabolical machinations like these, they temporarily triumph over the people of truth. But in accordance with the verse, 
 And the end is [best] for the righteous,9
 and the rule, "Truth is exalted and shall not be overcome," in addition to
 8. (Bukhari, Jana'iz 79: "al-Islamu ya'lu walâ yu'la").
 9. Qur'an, 7:128, etc.
  1. 122

its not yielding any significant benefit for them, their temporary triumph is the means of earning Hell for themselves and Paradise for the people of truth.

 Thus, it is because in misguidance those without power appear powerful and the insignificant win fame that they take up a position opposed to the people of truth. In this way conceited, fame-seeking, hypocritical people demonstrate their power with very little and gain a position for themselves through intimidating others and causing harm; they are seen and attention is drawn to them, and the destruction of which they are the cause, not through power and ability, but through omission and failure to act, is attributed to them and they become talked about. Just like when one of those obsessed with fame defiled a place of worship so that everyone would talk about him. Even if he was execrated, so long as he was talked about, his worship of fame made such cursing appear desirable to him. It became proverbial.
 O wretched man created for the world of eternity and enamoured of this transient world! Study closely the meaning of the verse,
 And neither heaven nor earth shed a tear over them,10
 and heed it. Look, what does it say? With its explicit meaning it says: "When the people of misguidance die, the heavens and earth, which are connected with man, do not weep over them, that is, they are pleased at their deaths." While with its implied meaning, it says: "The heavens and earth weep over the bodies over the people of guidance when they die; they do not want them to depart." For all the universe is connected with the people of belief and they are happy with them. For since they know the Creator of the Universe through belief, they appreciate the universe's value, and respect and love it. They do not nourish implicit enmity and contempt for it like the people of misguidance.
 O man, think! You are bound to die. If you follow your soul and Satan, your neighbours, and even your relations, will be happy at being delivered from you. But if saying, "I seek refuge with God from Satan the Accursed," you follow the Qur'an and the Merciful One's Beloved, then in accordance with your degree the heavens and earth and all beings will be sorry at your parting, and in effect weep. Mourning in elevated fashion and giving you a splendid send-off, they will indicate that in accordance with your degree, you will have a good welcome in the world of eternity, when you enter it through the door of the grave.
 10. Qur'an, 44:29.
  1. 123
 This consists of three Points.
 F i r s t P o i n t : One of Satan's most cunning wiles is to deceive people with narrow minds, short views, and constricted hearts concerning the immensity of the truths of belief. He says: "It is said that a single Being directs and administers within His dominicality all particles and planets and stars and all the other beings and all their states. How can a person believe in such an immense and extraordinary matter? How can it be contained in the heart? How can the mind accept it?" He awakens a feeling of denial in respect of human impotence.
 T h e A n s w e r : The way to silence this wile of Satan's is "God is Most Great!" And its true answer is "God is Most Great!" Yes, "God is Most Great!" being the most frequently repeated of all the marks of Islam is in order to eliminate this wile. For it is through the light of "God is Most Great!" that man's impotence and lack of power, weakness and lack of strength, and narrow thought see such infinitely vast truths and affirm them. And it is through the strength of "God is Most Great!" that man sustains those truths, and situates them within the sphere of "God is Most Great!" And he says to his heart which starts to doubt: 
 It is self-evident and apparent that the universe is administered and directed in most orderly fashion. There are two ways in which this may occur:
 The First Way: It is possible, but it is truly immense and wondrous. Certainly, such an astonishing work comes about through wondrous art in a most wondrous way. As for that way, it is its coming about through the dominicality, will, and power of a Single and Eternally Besought One, to Whose existence there are witnesses to the number of beings, indeed, of minute particles.
 The Second Way: This is the way of unbelief and associating partners with God, which is in no way possible and is difficult to the degree of being impossible and is in no respect reasonable. For as is proved decisively in many parts of the Risale-i Nur like the Twentieth Letter and Twenty-Second Word, there would have to be present in all the beings in the universe and even in every single particle absolute divinity and all-encompassing knowledge and infinite power so that the total order and regularity, and sensitive balance and distinction, and the perfect, adorned embroideries of art to be observed in beings could come into existence.
 In Short: If there was no immense and tremendous dominicality, which is completely appropriate and in place, it would necessitate following
  1. 124

a way which is in every respect unreasonable and precluded. Even Satan cannot propose fleeing from such immensity, which is appropriate and necessary, and suggest entering upon impossibility.

 S e c o n d P o i n t : Another of Satan's cunning wiles is to prevent man admitting his faults so that the way of seeking forgiveness and taking refuge with God should be closed. He also incites the egotism of the human soul, so that the soul defends itself like a lawyer, quite simply acquitting itself of all fault.
 Yes, a soul that listens to Satan does not want to see its own faults. Even if it does see them, it explains them away in a hundred ways. According to the saying: "The eye of contentment is blind to faults," when a person looks with pleasure on his soul, he does not see its faults. And because he does not see its faults, he does not admit to them, and does not seek forgiveness, nor seek refuge with God from them, and becomes the plaything of Satan. How can the soul be relied on when a noble prophet like Joseph (Upon whom be peace) said: 
 "Nor do I absolve my own self [of blame]; the [human] soul is certainly prone to evil, unless my Sustainer do bestow His mercy"?11
 One who accuses his soul, sees its faults. And one who admits his faults, seeks forgiveness for them. And one who seeks forgiveness, takes refuge with God. And one who takes refuge with God, is saved from Satan's evil. Not to see his faults is a greater fault than the first fault. And not to admit to his faults is a serious defect. If he sees the fault, it ceases to be a fault. If he admits it, he becomes worthy of forgiveness.
 T h i r d P o i n t : A satanic wile corrupting the life of society is this: it is not to see all the virtues of a believer on account of a single bad point. Those unjust people who heed this wile of Satan's are inimical to believers in that way. However, when Almighty God weighs up deeds with absolute justice on the supreme scales at the Last Judgement, He will judge in accordance with the predominance of good deeds over evils and vice versa. And since the causes of evil deeds are numerous and their existence is easy, sometimes He veils many bad deeds with a single good deed.
 That is to say, dealings in this world should be in accordance with that Divine justice. If a person's good points are greater in regard to quality or quantity than his bad points, the man is deserving of love and respect. Indeed, one should forgive numerous bad points on account of a single valuable virtue. However, due to the vein of tyranny in his nature and
 11. Qur'an, 12:53.
  1. 125

through the promptings of Satan, man forgets the hundred virtues of a person because of a single bad point, is hostile towards his believing brother, and commits sins. Like a fly's wing covering the eye conceals a mountain, so too, due to the veil of hatred, man conceals virtues as great as a mountain due to one evil like a fly's wing; he forgets them, is hostile towards his brother believer, and becomes a tool of corruption in the life of society.

 Through another wile resembling this one, Satan corrupts the wholeness of peoples' thoughts. He destroys sound judgement concerning the truths of belief and damages integrity and correctness of thought. It is like this: 
 He wants to destroy hundreds of evidences proving the truths of belief through a slight hint refuting them. Whereas it is an established principle that "A single proof is superior to a hundred denials." The statement of a witness proving a claim is preferable to a hundred people denying it. Consider this truth by means of the following comparison: 
 There is a palace with a hundred doors all closed. On one of its doors being opened, the palace may be entered and the other doors opened. If all the doors are open, and one or two are closed, it may not be said that the palace cannot not be entered.
 Thus, the truths of belief are the palace. Each evidence is a key; it proves the truths and opens a door. If one of the doors remains closed, the truths of belief cannot be abandoned and denied. Satan however, as a consequence of certain things or by means of heedlessness or ignorance, points out a door that has remained closed, thus causing a person to disregard all the positive evidences. Saying: "See, this palace cannot be entered. Perhaps it is not a palace, and there is nothing inside it," he deceives the person.
 O wretched man afflicted by the wiles of Satan! If you want the life of religion and of society and personal life all to be healthy, and if you want integrity of thought, a sound view, and a sincere heart, weigh up your actions and thoughts on the scales of the incontestable matters of the Qur'an and the balance of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH). Always take the Qur'an and the Practices as your guide. Say: I take refuge with God from Satan the Accursed, and seek refuge with God Almighty!
 And so, the above Thirteen Indications are thirteen keys. Use them to open the door of the fortified stronghold of the Sura,
 Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of mankind * The Ruler of mankind * The God of mankind * From the mischief of the 
  1. 126

Whisperer [of evil], who withdraws [after his whisper]- * [The same] who whispers into the hearts of mankind- * Among jinns and among men;12

 enter this secure citadel and find safety!
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.13
 And say: O My Sustainer, I seek refuge with You from the whisperings of the Evil Ones, * and I seek refuge with you, my Sustainer lest they should come near me.14
 * * *
 12. Qur'an, 114:1-6.
 13. Qur'an, 2:32.
 14. Qur'an, 23:97.
  1. 127


 [This consists of Two Stations. The First Station is the answer to two questions.]
 In His Name be He glorified!
 And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.
 Peace be upon you, and God's mercy and blessings.
 My Dear and Loyal Brother, Re'fet Bey!
 The answer to the question you ask about the Bull and the Fish is to be found in several parts of the Risale-i Nur. Questions of that sort have been explained in the Third Branch of the Twenty-Fourth Word in accordance with twelve important rules called Twelve Principles. The rules are each guidelines concerning the various interpretations of the Prophet's (PBUH) Hadiths; they are important principles for dispelling doubts that arise concerning the Hadiths. Unfortunately at the moment there are certain matters preventing me from being occupied with scholarly matters other than inspiration. I therefore cannot reply in accordance with your question. If inspiration comes to my heart, I am compelled to be busy with it. Some questions are answered because they coincide with the inspirations, so do not be offended. For this reason I cannot answer all questions as they deserve. So let me now reply briefly to your question this time.
 This time you ask in your question: "The hojas say that the earth rests on a bull and a fish. Whereas geography sees it hanging in space and travelling like a star. There is neither a bull nor a fish?"
 T h e A n s w e r : There is a sound narration attributed to people like Ibn Abbas (May God be pleased with him), that they asked the Most
  1. 128

Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace): "What is the world on?" He replied: "On the Bull and the Fish." In one narration, he said one time, "On the Bull," and on another occasion he said, "On the Fish." Some of the scholars of Prophetic traditions applied this Hadith to the superstitions and stories taken from Isra'iliyat, related since early times. Especially some of the scholars of the Children of Israel who became Muslims, they applied the Hadith to the stories about the Bull and the Fish they had seen in the former scriptures, changing its meaning to something strange. For now I shall write Three Principles and Three Aspects in connection with your question.

 When some of the scholars of the Children of Israel became Muslims, their former knowledge became Muslim along with them and was ascribed to Islam. However, there were errors in that former knowledge of theirs which were certainly their errors and not Islam's.
 On comparisons and metaphors passing from the elite to the common people, that is, on their falling from the hands of learning to those of ignorance, with the passage of time they are imagined to be literally true. For example, when I was a child there was an eclipse of the moon. I said to my mother: "Why has the moon gone like that?" She replied: "A snake has swallowed it." "It can still be seen," I said. She replied: "The snakes up there are like glass; they show the things that are inside them!"
 For a long time I recalled this memory of childhood. I would say, pondering over it: "How could such a false superstition come to be repeated by serious people like my mother?" Then when I studied astronomy I realized that those like my mother who repeated it were supposing a metaphor to be reality. For on the vast circle termed the zodiac, which is the circle of the degrees of the sun, and the circle of the declination of the moon, which is the circle of the mansions of the moon, passing over one another, it gives each of the two circles the form of an arc. Using a subtle metaphor the astronomers called the two arcs "the two great serpents." They called the points of intersection of the two circles "the head" and "the tail." When the moon comes to the head and the sun to the tail, in the terminology of astronomy, "an interposition of the earth" occurs. That is, the globe of the earth passes right between the two of them and the moon is eclipsed. According to the above metaphor, "the moon has entered the serpent's mouth." Thus, when this elevated and scholarly metaphor entered the language of the common people, in the course of time it took on the shape of a huge snake swallowing the moon.
  1. 129
 Thus, with a sacred and subtle metaphor and meaningful allusion, two great angels were given the names of the Bull (Thawr) and the Fish (Hut). But on this entering the common language from the elevated tongue of the Prophethood, the metaphor was transformed into the literal meaning, and quite simply they took on the form of a truly enormous bull and awesome fish.
 Just as the Qur'an contains allegories and comparisons, and by means of them teaches most profound matters to the ordinary people, so too do Hadiths contain comparisons and allegories; they express most profound truths through familiar comparisons. For example, as we have described in two other places, one time in the presence of the Prophet (PBUH) a deep rumbling was heard. He said: "It is the sound of a rock which has been rolling downhill for seventy years and now has hit the bottom of Hell." A few minutes later someone arrived and reported that a famous dissembler who had been seventy years old had died, thus proclaiming the reality of the Noble Prophet's (Upon whom be blessings and peace) most eloquent comparison. 
 For now, Three Aspects will be explained in reply to your question:
 T h e F i r s t : Almighty God appointed four angels-called the Eagle (Nasr) and the Bull (Thawr)1-as 'bearers of the Divine Throne and the heavens,' to supervise the sovereignty of His dominicality. He also appointed two angels as supervisors and bearers of the earth, which is the small brother of the heavens and companion of the planets. One of the angels was called the Bull and the other, the Fish. The reason for His giving these names is this:
 There are two parts to the earth, one is water, and the other is earth. It is fish that inhabit the part that is water, while agriculture, which is the means of man's life, is with bulls and oxen, which inhabit the part of the earth which is earth, and it is on the shoulders of oxen. Since the two angels appointed to the earth are both commanders and supervisors, they surely have to have some sort of relationship with the bovine and piscine species. Indeed, And the knowledge is with God, the angels are represented in the Worlds of the Inner Dimensions of Things and of Similitudes in the forms of a bull and a fish.2 And so, alluding to that relationship
 1. Bayhaqi, Shu'abu'l-Iman 433; Zahabi, Mizanu'l-I'tidal iv, 352; Suyuti, ad-Durru'l-Mansur i, 329.
 2. The globe of the earth is a dominical ship ploughing the oceans of space, and according to a Hadith, is the tillage of the Hereafter, that is, an arable field and nursery. So it is clear how fitting are the name of Fish for the angel who commands that huge lifeless and (Over)
  1. 130

and supervision and to those two important species of creatures of the earth, the Prophet (PBUH) stated in his miraculous manner of expression: "The earth is on the Bull and the Fish," thus expressing in a fine, concise sentence a page of profound truths.

 S e c o n d A s p e c t : For example, if it is said: "What does this government and rule rest on?," it will be said in reply: "On the sword and the pen." That is, it rests on the valour of the soldier's sword and the perspicacity and justice of the official's pen. In the just same way, since the earth is the dwelling-place of animate beings and the commander of animate beings is man, and fish are the means of livelihood of the majority of men who live by the sea, and the means of livelihood of the majority of those who do not live by the sea is through agriculture, which is on the shoulders of bulls and oxen, and fish are also an important means of trade, for sure as the state rests on the sword and the pen, so it may also be said that the earth rests on the ox and the fish. For whenever the ox does not work and fish does not produce millions of eggs, man cannot live, life ceases, and the All-Wise Creator destroys the earth.
 Thus, with a most miraculous, elevated, and wise reply, the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) said: "The earth is on the bull and the fish." He taught an extensive truth with two words, showing how closely connected are man's life and the life of the animal species.
 T h i r d A s p e c t : In the view of ancient cosmology the sun travelled, and they defined a constellation every thirty degrees of its journey. If hypothetical lines are drawn connecting the stars in the constellations with one another, when a single situation results, sometimes they show the shape of a lion, sometimes the shape of scales, sometimes the shape of a bull, sometimes the shape of a fish. Names were given to the constellations as a consequence of those relationships. But in the view of astronomy this century, the sun does not travel. The constellations remained idle and without work, for the globe of the earth travels instead of the sun. In which case it necessitates them being formed in small measure in the annual orbit of the earth on the ground instead of those lofty idle constellations above. Thus, the heavenly constellations are represented out of earth's annual orbit, and each month the earth is in the shadow and likeness of one of the heavenly constellations. It is as if the heavenly constellations are represented in the mirror-like yearly orbit of the earth.
 Thus in this respect, as we mentioned above, the Most Noble Prophet
  1. 131

(Upon whom be blessings and peace) on one occasion said: "On the Bull," and on another occasion, he said: "On the Fish." Yes, indicating a most profound truth which would be understood many centuries later, he one time said in the miraculous tongue of Prophethood: "On the Bull," because at the time in question, the earth was in the likeness of the Constellation of the Bull. And on being asked one month later, he said: "On the Fish." For then the earth was in the shadow of the Constellation of the Fish.

 So, indicating to an elevated truth that would be understood in the future, and alluding to the duty of the earth's motion and journeying, and to the facts that the heavenly constellations are idle and without guests in regard to the sun, and that the constellations that truly work are in the earth's annual orbit, and that it is the earth which journeys and performs duties in the constellations, he said: "On the Bull and the Fish."
 And God knows best what is right.
 The extraordinary and unreasonable stories in certain Islamic books are either Isra'iliyat, or they are allegories, or they are the interpretations of scholars of Hadith, which certain careless people have supposed to be Hadiths and attributed them to the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace).
 O our Sustainer! Do not take us to task if we forget or do wrong.3
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.4
 THE SECOND QUESTION is about the People of the Cloak.
 My brother! In regard to your question about the People of the Cloak, only one of the many instances of wisdom concerning it will be explained, as follows:
 The Most Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) covering Ali (May God be peleased with him) and Fatima (May God be pleased with her) and Hasan and Husain (May God be pleased with them) with the blessed cloak he wore, and his praying for them with the verse,
 [And God only wishes] to remove all abomination from you, members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless,5,6
 contains many mysteries and instances of wisdom. I shall not discuss the
 3. Qur'an, 2:282.
 4. Qur'an, 2:32.
 5. Qur'an, 33:33.
 6. Muslim, Fada'ilu's-Sahaba 61; Tirmidhi, Manaqib 60; Musnad i, 330; iv, 107; vi, 292, 296, 298, 304; Hakim, Mustadrak ii, 416; iii, 147; al-Haythami, Majma'u'z-Zawa'id ix, 166, 169; Suyuti, ad-Durru'l-Mansur v, 197; Kandahlawi, Hayatu's-Sahaba iv, 105.
  1. 132

mysteries; one instance of wisdom connected with the function of Prophethood is this:

 The Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) saw with the eye of Prophethood, which penetrated the Unseen and beheld the future, that thirty or forty years later serious strife would erupt among the Companions and the generation that succeeded them, and that blood would be spilt. He witnessed that the most distinguished among them would be the three under his cloak. So he covered them in the cloak, thus giving the four, plus himself, the title of the Five People of the Cloak, in order to acquit and exonerate Ali (May God be pleased with him) in the view of the Islamic Community, and console and offer condolences to Husain (May God be pleased with him), and congratulate Hasan and proclaim the honour he would acquire by removing through reconciliation serious discord and his supreme value for the Islamic Community, and that Fatima's descendants would be pure and honoured. 
 For sure Ali was the rightful Caliph, but since the blood that would be spilt was of great importance and since in the view of the Community his acquittal and exoneration were important on account of the function of Prophethood, the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) absolved him in that way. He invited the Kharijites, who criticized him and accused him of error and misguidance, and the aggressive supporters of the Umayyads, to be silent. Yes, the excesses concerning Ali (May God be pleased with him) of the extreme supporters of the Kharijites and Umayyads and their accusations of misguidance, and the truly tragic, distressing events of Husain's (May God be pleased with him) time together with the excesses and innovations of the Shi'a and the absolving of the two Shaykhs, have been most damaging for the people of Islam.
 Thus, with his cloak and prayer, the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) absolved Husain of responsibility, saved him from the accusations and bad opinion of the Islamic Community. So too he congratulated Hasan for the good he was to do for the Community by bringing about the reconciliation. And he announced that being known as 'the Prophet's Family', the blessed progeny of Fatima would be highly honoured, like those of Mary's mother, who said:
 I commend her and her offspring to your protection from the Evil One, the Rejected.7
 O God! Grant blessings to our master Muhammad, and to his righteous, pure, and pious Family, and to his Companions, noble and select strivers in God's way. Amen.
 * * *
 7. Qur'an, 3:36.
  1. 133
 Second Station
 This consists of Six of the thousands of mysteries contained in 
 'In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate'
 NOTE: A bright light from In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate concerning Divine Mercy appeared to my dull mind from afar. I wanted to record it for myself in the form of notes, and to hunt it down and capture it, and circumscribe the light with twenty to thirty Mysteries. But unfortunately I was not able to do this at the present time and the twenty or thirty Mysteries were reduced to five or six.
 When I say: "Oh, man!", I mean myself. And while this lesson is directed particularly to my own soul, I refer it as the Second Station of the Fourteenth Flash for the approval of my meticulous brothers in the hope that it may benefit those with whom I am connected spiritually and whose souls are more prudent than mine. This lesson looks to the heart more than the mind, and regards spiritual pleasure rather than rational proofs.
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 [The Queen] said: "Ye chiefs! Here is-delivered to me-a letter worthy of respect. It is from Solomon, and is [as follows]:'In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.'"1
 A number of mysteries will be mentioned in this Station.
 I saw one manifestation of In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate as follows:
 On the face of the universe, the face of the earth, and the face of man are three Stamps of dominicality one within the other and each showing samples of the others.
 T h e F i r s t is the Great Stamp of Godhead, which is manifest through the mutual assistance, co-operation, and embracing and corresponding
 1. Qur'an, 27:29-30.
  1. 134

to one another of beings in the totality of the universe. This looks to In the Name of God.

 T h e S e c o n d is the Great Stamp of Divine Mercifulness, which is manifest through the mutual resemblance and proportion, order, harmony, favour and compassion in the disposal, raising and administration of plants and animals on the face of the earth. This looks to In the Name of God, the Merciful.
 T h e n there is the Exalted Stamp of Divine Compassionateness, which is manifest through the subtleties of Divine beneficence, fine points of Divine clemency, and rays of Divine compassion on the face of man's comprehensive nature. This looks to the Compassionate in In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 That is to say, In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate is the sacred title of three Stamps of Divine Oneness, which form a luminous line on the page of the world, and a strong cord, and shining filament. That is, through being revealed from above, the tip of In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate rests on man, the fruit of the universe and miniature copy of the world. It binds the lower world to the Divine Throne. It is a way for man to ascend to the Divine Throne.
 In order not to overwhelm minds by Divine Unity, which is apparent in the boundless multiplicity of creatures, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition constantly points out the manifestation of Divine Oneness within Divine Unity. For example, the sun encompasses numberless things with its light. In order to consider the sun itself in the totality of its light, a most extensive conceptual ability and comprehensive view is necessary. So, lest the sun itself be forgotten, it is displayed in every shining object by means of its reflection. And in accordance with the capacity of each, all shining objects display the sun's qualities, such as its light and heat, together with the manifestation of its essence. And just as in accordance with their capacities, all lustrous objects show the sun together with all its attributes, so too do the sun's qualities, like its light and heat and the seven colours in its light, all encompass all the things facing it.
 And in the same way, And God's is the highest similitude2-but let there be no mistake in the comparison-just as Divine Oneness and Eternal Besoughtedness have a manifestation together with all the Divine Names in everything, in animate creatures in particular, and especially in man's mirror-like essence, so too through Divine Unity does each of the
 2. Qur'an, 16:60.
  1. 135

Divine Names connected to beings encompass all beings. Thus, lest minds become overwhelmed by Divine Unity and hearts forget the Most Pure and Holy Essence, the Qur'an constantly puts before the eyes the Stamp of Divine Oneness within Divine Unity. And that is In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, which points out the three important points of the Stamp.

 What makes this boundless universe rejoice is clearly Divine Mercy. And what illuminates these dark beings is self-evidently Divine Mercy. And what fosters and raises creatures struggling within these endless needs is self-evidently again Divine Mercy. And what causes the whole universe to be turned towards man, like a tree together with all its parts is turned towards its fruit, and causes it to look to him and run to his assistance is clearly Divine Mercy. And what fills and illuminates boundless space and the empty, vacant world and makes it rejoice is self-evidently Divine Mercy. And what designates ephemeral man for eternity and makes him the addressee and beloved of a Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal One is self-evidently Divine Mercy.
 Oh man! Since Divine Mercy is such a powerful, inviting, sweet, assisting lovable truth, say: In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, adhere to this truth and be saved from absolute desolation and the pains of unending needs. Draw close to the throne of the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal Monarch, and through the compassion and rays of Divine Mercy, become the addressee, friend, and beloved of that Monarch.
 Indeed, to gather with wisdom around man the realms of beings in the universe, and to make them hasten to meet all his needs with perfect order and favour is clearly one of two situations. Either each realm of beings in the universe itself knows man, and obeys him, runs to help him, which just as it is completely irrational is also impossible in many respects, or an absolutely impotent being like man has to possess the power of the mightiest absolute sovereign, or this assistance occurs through the knowledge of an Absolutely Powerful One behind the veil of the universe. That is to say, it is not that the different beings in the universe know man, but that they are the evidences of a Knowing, Compassionate One being acquainted with him and knowing him.
 Oh man! Come to your senses! Is it at all possible that the All-Glorious One, Who causes all the varieties of creatures to turn towards you and stretch out their hands to assist you, and causes them to say: "Here we are!" in the face of your needs, is it possible that He does not
  1. 136

know you, is not acquainted with you, does not see you? Since He does know you, He informs you that He knows you through His Mercy. So, you know Him too, and with respect let Him know that you know Him, and understand with certainty that what subjugates the vast universe to an absolutely weak, absolutely impotent, absolutely needy, ephemeral, insignificant creature like you, and despatches it to assist you is the truth of Divine Mercy, which comprises wisdom, favour, knowledge, and power.

 Most certainly, a Mercy such as this requires universal and sincere thanks, and earnest and genuine respect. Therefore, say: In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, which is the interpreter and expression of such sincere thanks and genuine respect. And make it the means of attaining to the Mercy, and an intercessor at the Court of the All-Merciful One.
 Indeed, the existence and reality of Divine Mercy is as clear as the sun. For just as a woven tapestry centred on one point is formed by the order and situation of the threads of its warp and weft coming from all directions, so too the luminous threads extending from the manifestation of a thousand and one Divine Names in the vast sphere of the universe weave such a seal of compassionateness, tapestry of clemency, and seal of benevolence within a Stamp of Mercy that it demonstrates itself to minds more brilliantly than the sun. 
 The Beauteous All-Merciful One, Who orders the sun and moon, the elements and minerals, plants and animals like the warp and weft of a vast woven tapestry through the rays of His thousand and one Names, and causes them to serve life; and demonstrates His compassion through the exceedingly sweet and self-sacrificing compassion of all mothers, plant and animal; and subjugates animate creatures to human life, and from this demonstrates man's importance and a most fine and lovely large tapestry of Divine dominicality, and manifests His most brilliant Mercy, has, in the face of His own absolute lack of need made His Mercy an acceptable intercessor for animate creatures and man.
 Oh man! If you are truly a human being, say: In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Find that intercessor. For sure, it is clearly, self-evidently, Divine Mercy which, without forgetting or confusing any of them raises, nurtures, and administers the four hundred thousand different plant and animal species on the earth at precisely the right time, and with perfect order, wisdom, and beneficence, and stamps the Seal of Divine Oneness on the face of the globe of the earth. And just as the existence of Divine Mercy is as certain as the existence of the beings on the face of the earth, so too do the beings form as many evidences to its reality as their own number.
  1. 137
 Like on the face of the earth there is such a Seal of Mercy and Stamp of Divine Oneness, so also on the face of man's nature is a Stamp of Divine Mercy which is not inferior to the Stamp of Compassion and vast Stamp of Mercy on the face of the universe. Simply, man possesses a comprehensiveness like being a point of focus of a thousand and one Divine Names.
 Oh man! Is it at all possible that the One Who gives you this face, and places such a Stamp of Mercy and Seal of Oneness on it would leave you to your own devices, attach no importance to you, pay no attention to your actions, make the whole universe, which is turned towards you, futile and pointless, and make the tree of creation rotten and insignificant with decayed fruit? Would He cause to be denied His Mercy, which is as obvious as the sun, and His Wisdom, which is as clear as light, neither of which can in any way be doubted, nor are in any way deficient? God forbid!
 Oh man! You should know that there is a way to ascend to the throne of Divine Mercy, and that is, In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. If you want to understand how important this way of ascent is, look at the beginning of the one hundred and fourteen chapters of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, and at the beginnings of all estimable books, and at the start of all good works. And a clear proof of the God-determined grandeur of In the Name of God is that the very foremost Islamic scholars like Imam Shafi'i (may God be pleased with him) said: "Although In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate is one verse, it was revealed one hundred and fourteen times in the Qur'an."
 To declare: "You alone do we worship" in the face of the manifestation of Divine Unity within boundless multiplicity is not sufficient for everyone; the mind wanders. It is necessary to possess a heart as broad as the globe of the earth in order to observe the Unique and Single One behind the unity in the totality of beings, and to say: "You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help."3 As a consequence of this, so that the Seal of Divine Oneness should be apparent on all species and realms of beings just as it is shown clearly on individual objects, and that they should call to mind the Unique and Single One, it is shown within the Stamp of Divine Mercy. Thus everyone at every level may turn to the Most Pure and Holy One, and saying: "You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help," address Him directly.
 3. Qur'an, 1:5.
  1. 138

It is in order to express this mighty mystery and clearly point out the Seal of Divine Mercy that the All-Wise Qur'an suddenly mentions the smallest sphere and most particular matter when describing the vastest sphere of the universe, for example, the creation of the heavens and the earth. And so that the mind does not wander, nor the heart drown, and the spirit may find directly its True Object of Worship, it opens the subject of man's creation and man's voice, and the subtle details of the bounties and wisdom in his features, for example, while mentioning the creation of the heavens and earth. The verse,

 And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and in your colours4
 demonstrates this truth in a miraculous fashion.
 Indeed, within innumerable creatures and an infinite multiplicity, there are sorts and degrees of Stamps of Divine Unity like concentric circles from the greatest Stamp to the smallest. But however clear that Unity is, it is still a unity within multiplicity. It cannot truly address observers. It is because of this that there has to be the Stamp of Divine Oneness behind Unity. So that unity does not call to mind multiplicity, and directly before the Most Pure and Holy One a way may be opened up to the heart.
 Furthermore, in order to direct gazes towards the Stamp of Divine Oneness and attract hearts towards it, a most captivating design, shining light, agreeable sweetness, pleasing beauty, and powerful truth, which is the Stamp of Divine Mercy and Seal of Divine Compassion, has been placed on it. For sure, it is the strength of that Mercy which attracts the gazes of conscious beings, draws them to It, and causes them to reach the Seal of Oneness and to observe the Unique and Single One, and from that to manifest the true address in You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help.
 Thus, it is through In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate being the index of the Sura al-Fatiha and a concise summary of the Qur'an that it is the sign and interpreter of this mighty mystery. One who acquires this sign may travel through the levels of Divine Mercy. And one who causes this interpreter to speak may learn the mysteries of Divine Mercy and see the lights of Divine Compassion and pity.
 There is a Hadith which goes something like this:
 "God created man in the form of the All-Merciful One."5 
 4. Qur'an, 30:22.
 5. "Indeed, Allah created Adam in the form of the Most Merciful." Bukhari, Isti'dhan 1; Muslim, Birr 115; Musnad, Janna ii, 22, 244, 251, 315, 323, 434, 463, 519.
  1. 139

It has been interpreted by some Sufis in an extraordinary way inappropriate to the tenets of belief. Some of them who were ecstatics even considered man's spiritual nature to be 'in the form of the All-Merciful'. Since ecstatics are mostly immersed in contemplation and confused, they are perhaps to be excused in holding views contrary to reality. But on consideration, those in their senses cannot accept their ideas which are contrary to the fundamentals of belief. If they do, they are in error.

 Indeed, the Most Pure and Holy Deity, Who administers with order the whole universe as though it was a palace or house, and spins the stars as though they were particles and causes them to travel through space with wisdom and ease, and employs minute particles as though they were orderly officials, has no partner, match, opposite, or equal. So also according to the meaning of the verse:
 There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He hears and sees [all things],6
 He has no form, like, or peer, there is nothing resembling or similar to Him. However, according to the meaning and manner of comparison of the following verse, 
 And His is the highest similitude in the heavens and the earth, and He is Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom,7
 His actions, attributes, and Names may be considered. That is to say, there is allegory and comparison in regard to His actions. One aim of the above-mentioned Hadith is as follows: "Man is in a form showing the Divine Name of All-Merciful in its entirety."
 For sure, as we explained before, just as the Divine Name of All-Merciful is manifest through the rays of a thousand and one Names on the face of the universe, and is apparent through the innumerable manifestations of God's absolute dominicality on the face of the earth, so also is the complete manifestation of the Name All-Merciful apparent in a small measure in man's comprehensive form, like on the face of the earth and the face of the universe.
 A further indication is this: the evidences to the Necessarily Existent One of places of manifestation like animate creatures and man, who are proofs of and mirrors to the All-Merciful and Compassionate One, are so certain, clear, and obvious that just as it may be said of a shining mirror which reflects the image of the sun: "That mirror is the sun," indicating to
 6. Qur'an, 42:11.
 7. Qur'an, 30:27.
  1. 140

the clarity of its brilliance and evidence, so also it has been said and may be said: "Man is in the form of the All-Merciful One," indicating to the clearness of his evidence and completeness of his connection. It is as a consequence of this mystery that the more moderate of those who believed in 'the unity of existence' said: "There is no existent but He," as a way of expressing the clarity of this evidence and perfection of connection.

 O God! O Most Merciful One! Most Compassionate One! Through the truth of 'In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate' have mercy on us as befits Your Compassionateness, and allow us to understand the mysteries of 'In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate' as befits Your Mercifulness. AMEN.
 O unhappy man struggling within a boundless impotence and endless want! You should understand just what a valuable means and acceptable intercessor is Divine Mercy. For Divine Mercy is the means to an All-Glorious Sovereign in Whose army both the stars and minute particles serve together in perfect order and obedience. And that All-Glorious One and Sovereign of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity is self-sufficient, He is utterly without need. 
 He is rich without limit being in no respect needy of the universe and beings. The whole universe is under His command and direction, utterly obedient beneath His majesty and grandeur, submissive before His sublimity. That is Divine Mercy for you, Oh man! It raises you to the presence of the One absolutely lacking any need, the Eternal Sovereign, and makes you His friend, addressee, and well-loved servant. But just as you cannot reach the sun, are far from it and can in no way draw close to it, although the sun's light gives you its reflection and manifestation by means of your mirror, in the same way you are infinitely distant from the Most Pure and Holy One, the Sun of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, and cannot draw close to Him, but the light of His Mercy makes Him closer to us. 
 And so, O man! He who finds this Mercy finds an eternal unfailing treasury of light. And the way to find it is through following the Practices of the Most Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), who was the most brilliant exemplar and representative of Mercy, its most eloquent tongue and herald, and was described in the Qur'an as a 'Mercy to All the Worlds.'
 And the means to this embodiment of Mercy who is a Mercy to All the
  1. 141

Worlds is to utter the prayer calling down God's blessings upon him. Indeed, the meaning of this prayer is Mercy. As a prayer of Mercy for that living embodiment of Divine Mercy, it is the means of reaching the Mercy to All the Worlds. So, make this prayer the means to the Mercy to All the Worlds for yourself, and at the same time make him the means to the Mercy of the Most Merciful One.

 The whole Muslim Community in all their great numbers uttering this prayer which is synonymous with Mercy for the Mercy to All the Worlds proves in brilliant fashion what a valuable Divine gift is Divine Mercy, and how broad is its sphere.
 T o C o n c l u d e : Just as the most precious jewel in the treasury of Mercy and its doorkeeper is the Prophet Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace), so too is its first key In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. And its most easy key the prayer for the Prophet.
 O God! Through the truth of 'In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate' grant blessings and peace to the one whom You sent as a mercy to all the worlds as befits Your Mercy, and in veneration of him, and to all his Family and Companions. And grant us Mercy so as to make us free of want for the mercy of any other than You from among Your creatures. AMEN.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us. Indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.
 * * *


 This consists of the Indexes of Sözler (The Words), Mektûbat (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi-Letters 1928-1932), and Lem'alar (The Flashes Collection), from the First to the Fourteenth Flash. Since they have been included in the relevant volumes, they have not been published here.
 * * *
  1. 142


 In His Name, be He glorified!
 And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.
 Peace be upon you, and God's mercy and blessings!
 My Dear and Loyal Brothers Hoja Sabri, Hâfiz Ali, Mes'ud, the Mustafa's, Husrev, Re'fet, Bekir Bey, Rü_tü, the Lütfi's, Hâfiz Ahmed, Shaykh Mustafa, and the others! It occurred to my heart to explain to you in concise informative fashion four small Matters which have been the subject of curiosity and questions.
 Certain of our brothers like Çaprazzâde Abdullah Efendi had heard related from those who divine the realities that this last Ramadan a relief from difficulties, a victory, would occur for the Sunnis, whereas it did not occur. Why do people of sainthood and illumination such as that make predictions that are contrary to reality? They asked me, and a summary of the reply I gave them, with which I was inspired, is this: 
 It is said in a Hadith: "Sometimes a calamity is visited on a person, but it is confronted with alms-giving, and is repelled."1 The underlying meaning of this Hadith shows that while appointed events are going to come to pass through certain conditions, they do not occur. That is to say, the appointed events of which the people of illumination are aware are not absolute, but restricted by certain conditions; on the conditions not being present, the event does not occur. However the event, like the appointed
 1. al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak i, 492.
  1. 143

hour of death, which is suspended, is written and determined in the Tablet of Appearance and Dissolution, which is a sort of notebook of the Pre-Eternal Tablet. It is only extremely rarely that illuminations penetrate as far as the Pre-Eternal Tablet; mostly they cannot rise that far.

 As a consequence of this, predictions made as a result of interpretations or illuminations this last Ramadan and Feast of Sacrifices or at other times that do not occur because the conditions on which they were dependent were not fulfilled, do not give the lie to those who told of them. For they were determined, but did not come about because the conditions were not fulfilled.
 Yes, the sincere prayers of the majority of the Sunnis for the abrogating of innovations in the month of Ramadan formed a condition and important reason. But since innovations had entered the mosques in Ramadan, they formed an obstacle to the acceptance of the supplications, and the relief did not arrive. Just as in accordance with the above Hadith, alms-giving repels calamities, the sincere supplications of the majority attract a general release from troubles. Since the power of attraction did not come into being, the victory also was not given.
 The last two months there has been a lively political situation in the face of which some attempt should have been made to alleviate conditions both for myself and the brothers with whom I am connected. While there was a strong possibility that this could have been achieved, I attached no importance to the situation, and on the contrary, had an idea in support of 'the worldly' who oppress me. A number of people were astonished at this. They said: "What do you think about the policies followed by those at the head of these innovators and in part dissembling people who torment you, so that you do nothing to them?" A summary of my reply is as follows:
 The greatest danger facing the people of Islam at this time is their hearts being corrupted and belief harmed through the misguidance that arises from science and philosophy. The sole solution for this is light; it is to show light so that their hearts can be reformed and their belief, saved. If one acts with the club of politics and prevails over them, the unbelievers descend to the degree of dissemblers. And dissemblers are worse than unbelievers. That is to say, the club cannot heal the heart at this time, for then unbelief enters the heart and is concealed, and is transformed into dissembling. And at this time, a powerless person like myself cannot employ both of them-the club and the light. For this reason I am
  1. 144

compelled to embrace the light with all my strength, and cannot consider the club of politics whatever form it is in. Whatever physical jihad demands, we are not charged with that duty at the moment. Yes, in accordance with a person's way, a club is necessary to form a barrier against the assaults of the unbelievers or apostates. But we only have two hands. Even if we had a hundred hands, they would be sufficient only for the light. We do not have any other hands with which to hold the club!

 Why do you violently oppose war, although, with foreign forces like the British and Italians interfering in the government recently, it would have excited Islamic zeal-the true point of support and source of moral strength of this country's government-and been a means to an extent of reviving the marks of Islam and repulsing innovations? Why have you offered prayers for its being settled by peaceful means, and come out fervently in support of the innovators' government? Is this not indirect support of innovations?
 T h e A n s w e r : We want relief, release, happiness, and victory-but not with the sword of the unbelievers. Let the unbelievers' swords be the end of them! We are not in need of any advantage proceeding from their swords. In fact it is those obstinate Europeans who have set the dissemblers to pester the people of belief, and have raised the atheists.
 As for the calamity of war, it would cause great harm to our service of the Qur'an. Since the majority of our most valuable, self-sacrificing brothers are under the age of forty-five, they would be forced because of war to leave their sacred service of the Qur'an and enroll in the army. If I had the money, I would gladly pay the thousand liras necessary to release each of such valuable brothers from military service. With hundreds of my valuable brothers leaving the Qur'anic service of the Risale-i Nur and laying hands on the club of physical jihad, I feel a loss in myself of a hundred thousand liras. These two years of Zekâi's military service, even, have caused perhaps a thousand liras of his immaterial profit to be lost. Anyway... Like the One Powerful Over All Things sweeps and cleans in a minute the atmosphere filled with clouds and shows the shining sun in clear skies, so He may also dispel these black and merciless clouds and show the truths of the Shari'a like the sun, and give them without expense or trouble. We await it from His mercy that He will not sell them to us expensively. May He give intelligence to the heads of those at the top, and belief to their hearts; that would be enough. Then matters would put themselves to rights
  1. 145
 They ask: "Since what you hold in your hand is light, not a club, and light cannot be objected to, nor fled from, nor can harm come from showing it, why do you advise caution to your friends, and prevent them showing many light-filled parts of the Risale-i Nur to people?"
 A brief reply to the question is this: the heads of most of those at the top are drunk and they cannot read them. And even if they do read them, they cannot understand them; they give them the wrong meaning, and interfere. In order that they do not interfere, they should not be shown them until they come to their senses. There are also many unscrupulous people who out of spite or ambition or fear, deny the light or close their eyes to it. Therefore, I advise my brothers to be cautious and not to give the truths to those who are unfit, and not to do things which excite the suspicions of 'the worldly.'2
 * * *
 2. An anecdote about an event that could have led to something serious: yesterday morning the son-in-law of one of my friends came to me. Joyfully, as one bearing good news, he said to me: "They've printed one of your books in Isparta and a lot of people are reading it." I replied: "That prohibited one hasn't been printed; a number of copies have been obtained by means of a hectograph, about which the government can say nothing." And I added: "Be careful not to say anything about this to those two dissemblers, your friends. They're looking for something to use as a pretext." And so my friends, the man was the son-in-law of one of my friends, and in that connection may also be thought of as my friend, but through being the barber he is the friend of the unscrupulous teacher and dissembling District Officer. One of our brothers apparently said something there without being aware of it, so it was a good thing that he came first and told me about it. And I warned him and anything untoward was forestalled. And behind this screen the duplicating machine published thousands of copies.
  1. 146
 Today I received a letter from Re'fet Bey. In connection with his question about the Prophet's (PBUH) beard, I say this:
 It is established by Hadiths that the number of hairs from the blessed beard of the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) was limited. Despite their being few in number, like thirty, forty, fifty or sixty, the fact that there are hairs from the blessed beard in thousands of places caused me much thought at one time. At that time it occurred to me that what is known at his blessed beard consists not only of its hairs, but the Companions, who neglected nothing, preserved the hair of his blessed head when he cut it. His luminous, blessed hair, which would be preserved for ever, numbered thousands and may be equal to what is now extant.
 I also wondered at that time whether or not it was established with sound documentary evidence that the hair found in all mosques was the Prophet's (PBUH) hair so that it was acceptable to visit it. It occurred to me suddenly that the hair was the cause of visits, and of uttering benedictions for the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and venerating and loving him. Since it was the cause, the thing's essential nature was not considered, but its nature as a means. Therefore, even if the hair was not truly from the Prophet's blessed beard, since it was considered to be because of its appearance, and performed the function of being a means of veneration, regard, and benedictions, it was not necessary to specify and authenticate it. So long as there was no definite evidence to the contrary, that was sufficient. For generally held opinions and the acceptance of the Islamic Community counts as a sort of proof.
 If some of the pious object to such matters on grounds of fear of God (taqwa), or caution, or resolution, they do so in particular cases. And if they say it is an innovation, it is included among the type, 'commendable innovations,' because it is the means of reciting benedictions for the Prophet (PBUH). Re'fet Bey said in his letter: "This matter has been the cause of argument among the brothers." I advise my brothers that they do not argue in such a way that will cause differences and conflict; they should grow accustomed to discussing things as an exchange of ideas, without disputing.
 * * *
  1. 147
 In His Name, be He glorified!
 And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.
 Peace be upon you and God's mercy and blessings.
 My Dear and Loyal Brothers from Senirkent, İbrahim, Şükrü, Hâfiz Bekir, Hâfiz Hüseyin, Hâfiz Receb Efendi!
 The atheists have for a long time objected to the three matters you sent with Hâfiz Tevfik.
 According to the explicit meaning of the verse,
 Until when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water,1
 he saw the sun setting in a hot, mud spring.
 Where is the barrier of Dhu'l-Qarnayn?
 This is about Jesus (UWP) coming at the end of time and killing the Dajjal.2
 The answers to these questions are lengthy, so indicating them briefly, we say this: since the verses of the Qur'an express matters in accordance with the styles of Arabic, in conformity with outward appearances, in a way everyone will understand, they frequently explain things in the form of metaphors, allegories, and comparisons. So to consider the verse, set in a spring of murky water: Dhu'l-Qarnayn saw the sun setting in the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, which appeared like a boiling, muddy spring, or in the fiery, smoking crater of a volcano. That is, in the outward view, the Atlantic appeared to Dhu'l-Qarnayn in the distance as the large pool of a spring surrounded by a swamp which in the intense heat of summer was steaming and vaporizing; he saw the sun's apparent setting in a part of it. Or he saw the sun, the eye of the skies, being hidden in a new, fiery crater at the summit of a volcano, which was spewing out rocks, earth, and lava.
 Yes, the All-Wise Qur'an's miraculously eloquent expression teaches many matters with this sentence. Firstly, by explaining that Dhu'l-Qarnayn's
 1. Qur'an, 18:86.
 2. The Dajjal is the Antichrist, related to appear at the end of time. (Tr.)
  1. 148

journey to the west coincided with the intense heat of summer, the area of a swamp, the time of the setting of the sun, and the time of a volcanic eruption, it alludes to many instructive matters, like the complete conquest of Africa.

 It is well-known that the sun's motion is apparent, indicating the hidden movement of the earth and giving news of it. What it intended is not the actual setting of the sun. Also the spring is a metaphor. From the distance a large sea appears like a small pool. The likening of a sea appearing beyond swamps, and mists and vapours rising from it due to the heat, to a muddy spring, together with word 'ayn, which in Arabic means both spring, and sun, and eye, is most meaningful and apt according to the mysteries of eloquence.3 It appears like that to Dhu'l-Qarnayn because of the distance. So too, coming from the Sublime Throne and commanding the heavenly bodies, the heavenly address of the Qur'an states that the subjugated sun, which performs the duty of a lamp in this guest-house of the Most Merciful One, is hidden in a dominical spring like the Atlantic Ocean, and this is fitting for the elevatedness and greatness of the heavenly address; through its miraculous style it shows the sea to be a hot spring and steaming eye. And that is how is appears to heavenly eyes.
 I n S h o r t : Terming the Atlantic Ocean a muddy spring indicates that Dhu'l-Qarnayn saw that huge ocean as a spring due to the distance. But because the Qur'an sees everything from close to, it did not see what Dhu'l-Qarnayn saw, which was a sort of illusion. Indeed, since the Qur'an comes from the heavens and looks to them, it sees the earth sometimes as an arena, sometimes as a palace, sometimes as a cradle, and sometimes as a page. Thus, its calling the vast misty, vaporous Atlantic Ocean a spring shows its great elevatedness.
 * * *
 3. The word "spring" ('ayn) in "in a spring of murky water" alludes to a subtle meaning in accordance with the mysteries of rhetoric, as follows: after gazing on the beauty of Divine mercy on the face of the earth, the eye of the sun in the face of the sky-and after beholding Divine tremendousness above, the eye of the sea in the earth-these two eyes close one within the other, and the eyes on the earth close also. Thus, with one miraculous word the Qur'an recalls this, and alludes to eyes resting from their duties.
  1. 149
 Where is the barrier of Dhu'l-Qarnayn? Who were Gog and Magog?
 T h e A n s w e r : Long ago I wrote a treatise about this question. The atheists were silenced by it at that time. I do not have it with me now, furthermore, my memory is not working and not helping me. Also, this question is discussed a little in the Third Branch of the Twenty-Fourth Word. We shall therefore only indicate very briefly two or three points about it, as follows:
 According to explanations given by investigative scholars, and as indicated by the title Dhu'l-Qarnayn, names beginning with the suffix Dhu, like Dhu'l-Yazan, were used by the kings of Yemen, therefore this Dhu'l-Qarnayn was not Alexander the Great. He was rather one of the kings of Yemen who lived at the time of Abraham (UWP) and received instruction from Khidr. Alexander the Greek, however, lived approximately three hundred years before Christ, and was taught by Aristotle.
 Human history goes back in regular fashion approximately three thousand years. This deficient and short view of history is not accurate concerning pre-Abrahamic times. It continues back either as superstition, or as denial, or in very abbreviated form. The reason this Dhu'l-Qarnayn of Yemen became known since early times in Qur'anic commentaries with the name Alexander, was either that it was one of his names, so that he was Alexander the Great or the Alexander of Ancient Times, or else the following:
 The particular events mentioned by verses of the Qur'an are the tips of universal events. Thus, through his prophetic guidance, Alexander the Great, who was Dhu'l-Qarnayn, founded a barrier between the peoples who were oppressors and those who were oppressed, and built the famous Great Wall of China to prevent the raids of those cruel enemies. Similarly, many powerful kings and world conquerors like Alexander the Greek followed in the path of Dhu'l-Qarnayn materially, while prophets and spiritual poles, who are like the kings of man's spiritual world, followed him in respect of spiritual matters and guidance; they built barriers between mountains-one of the most effective means of saving the oppressed from oppressors, and later constructed strongholds on mountain tops. They founded these themselves through their material power, or through their guidance and planning. Then they built walls surrounding towns and citadels inside the towns, and finally they made machine-guns and Dreadnoughts, which were like mobile citadels. The most famous barrier on earth, the Great Wall of China, covers a distance of several days' journeying and was built to halt the incursions against the
  1. 150

oppressed peoples of India and China of the savage tribes known in the Qur'an as Gog and Magog, and otherwise known as the Mongols and Manchurians. These tribes several times threw the world of humanity into chaos, and pouring out from behind the Himalayas wrought destruction from East to West. A long wall was built between two mountains close to the Himalayan mountains which for a long time prevented the frequent assaults of those savage peoples, and barriers were also built through the efforts of the kings of ancient Persia, who resembled Dhu'l-Qarnayn, in the mountains of Caucasia, in the region of Darband, to halt the inroads of the plundering and pillaging Tatar peoples. There are very many barriers of this sort. Since the All-Wise Qur'an speaks with all mankind, it mentions what is apparently a particular incident, recalling all events similar to it. It is from this point of view that the narrations concerning the Barrier and Gog and Magog, and the writings of the Qur'anic commentators about them, all differ.

 Furthermore, in respect of related subjects, the All-Wise Qur'an transfers from one event to another distant one. Someone who does not think of this relation supposes the two events to be close in time. Thus, the Qur'an's predicting the end of the world from the destruction of the Barrier is not in respect of the two events being close in time, but for two subtle points in respect of the association of the subjects. That is, the world will be destroyed just as the Barrier will be destroyed. Also, as mountains, which are natural, Divine barriers, are firm and will only be destroyed at the end of the world, so is this Barrier firm as a mountain, and will only be levelled to dust at the destruction of the world. Even if it suffers damage from the assaults of time, for the most part it will remain intact. Yes, although the Great Wall of China, which is one particular meaning from the universal meaning of the Barrier of Dhu'l-Qarnayn, has been standing for thousands of years, it is still there for all to see. It is read as a long embodied, petrified, meaningful line from ancient history written by man's hand on the page of the earth.
 * * *
 There are brief replies concerning Jesus (Upon whom be peace) killing the Dajjal in both the First and the Fifteenth Letters, which should suffice you.
 * * *
  1. 151
 In His Name!
 And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.
 Peace be upon you, and God's mercy and blessings.
 My Dear Self-Sacrificing, Loyal, Conscientious Brothers, Hoja Sabri and Hâfiz Ali!
 Although your important question about the verse at the end of Sura Luqman about the Five Hidden Things deserves an important reply, unfortunately neither my present state of mind nor physical condition permit such an answer. I shall only allude very concisely to one or two points your question touches on.
 Your question shows that atheists who have deviated from true path of religion have made objections and criticisms concerning the time of rain falling and nature of the embryos in the womb from among the Five Hidden Things. They have said: "Instruments in the observatory can discover when rain is to fall, so someone other than God knows. Also the sex of embryos can be learnt by means of X-rays. This means it is possible to learn the Five Hidden Things."
 T h e A n s w e r : Not being tied to any law, the time rain falls is bound directly to Divine will. One instance of wisdom in its appearance from the treasury of mercy being dependent on a particular Divine wish is as follows: 
 The most important things in the universe and the most valuable are existence, life, light, and mercy, which look directly, without intermediary or veil, to Divine power and a particular Divine wish. In other creatures, apparent causes are veils to the disposal of Divine power, and regular laws and principles to an extent screen the Divine will and wish. However, such veils have not been placed on existence, life, light, and mercy, for the purpose they serve is not in force in those things.
 Since the most important truths in existence are mercy and life, and rain is the source of life and means of mercy, indeed is pure mercy, for sure intermediaries will not veil it, neither will laws and monotony screen the wishes that pertain to God alone. In this way everyone in every situation will all the time be obliged to offer thanks and worship and supplications and prayers. If rain had been included under a law, everyone would have relied on the law and the door of thanks and supplication would have been closed.
  1. 152
 It is clear that there are numerous benefits in the sun's rising. But since it is tied to a regular law, supplications are not offered for its rising and thanks are not given. And since by means of the law human knowledge knows that it will rise again tomorrow, it is not counted among the matters of the Unseen. But since the particular occurences of rain do not follow any law, men are all the time obliged to take refuge at the Divine Court with prayers and supplications. And since human knowledge has been unable to specify the times of precipitation, they consider it to be a special bounty proceeding from the treasury of mercy alone, and truly offer thanks.
 It is because of this that the verse includes the time of rain among the Five Hidden Things. Deducing the preliminaries of rain with instruments in observatories and specifying the times of precipitation is not knowing the Unseen, but through studying certain of its preliminaries knowing when it has emerged from the World of the Unseen and drawn close to the Manifest World.
 When the most secret events of the Unseen occur, or when they are close to occurring, they are known through a sort of premonition. That is not knowing the Unseen, it is knowing something existent or its being close to existence. I myself even, through a sensitivity in my nerves, perceive the rain, sometimes twenty-four hours before it comes. That is to say, the rain has preliminaries, forerunners. They show themselves through a sort of dampness, making it known that rain is to follow. Just like a law, this situation is a means of reaching matters that have left the World of the Unseen but not yet entered the Manifest World. But to know when rain will fall that has not yet set foot in the Manifest World, nor left through a particular Divine wish the treasury of mercy, is peculiar to the One All-Knowing of the Unseen.
 * * *
  1. 153
 Learning by means of X-rays whether a child in the womb is male or female is not contrary to the meaning of the verse, And He Who knows what is in the wombs,4 which refers to the Unseen. For what is intended by the verse are the preliminaries of the child's particular capacity and the appointed course of its life, which it will acquire in the future, and even the wondrous stamp of the Eternally Besought One on its face-the child being known in this way is particular to the knowledge of the One All-Knowing of the Unseen. Even if a hundred thousand X-ray-like minds of men were to combine, they still could not discover its true features, each of which is a mark distinguishing the child from all the other members of the human race. So how could they discover the immaterial features of its abilities, which are a hundred times more wondrous than its physical features.
 We said at the beginning that existence, life, and mercy are the most important truths in the universe and that the most important station is theirs. Therefore, one reason for that comprehensive truth of life looking with all its fine points and subtleties to the Divine will and wish and mercy, which are particular to God Almighty, is this: 
 It is because life together with all its faculties is the source and means of thanks and worship that laws and monotony, which are a veil to the will which is God's alone, and apparent intermediaries, which screen mercy which is particular to God Almighty, have not been placed on it. Almighty God has two manifestations in the physical and non-physical features of unborn children.
 One shows Divine Unity, Oneness, and Eternal Besoughtedness, whereby, being in conformity and agreement with other human beings in regard to basic members and human faculties, the child testifies to Divine Unity. With this tongue the child shouts out: "Whoever gave me these features and members is also the Maker of all human beings, who resemble me in regard to basic members, and He is also the Maker of all living beings."
 Thus, this tongue of the child in the womb does not pertain to the Unseen; it may be known since it follows the law and general rule and the species. It is a branch and tongue of the Manifest World which has entered the World of the Unseen.
 The Second Aspect: Through the tongue of the features of its particular capacity and its individual features, it proclaims its Maker's choice,
 4. Qur'an, 31:34.
  1. 154

will and wish and particular mercy and that He is under no restriction. But this tongue comes from the deepest Unseen; none apart from Pre-Eternal Knowledge can see it before it comes into existence, nor comprehend it. These features cannot be known while in the womb through one out of a thousand of its members being seen!

 I n S h o r t : In the features of the embryo's innate capacity and in its physical features there are both evidence for Divine Unity and proofs of Divine will and choice. If Almighty God grants success, a number of further points shall be written about the Five Hidden Things. But for now I have no more time and my condition does not permit it, so I conclude here.
 The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One!
 S a i d N u r s i
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.
 * * *
  1. 155
 In His Name, be He glorified!
 And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.
 My Dear, Loyal, Curious Brother, Re'fet Bey!
 You ask in your letter about the Ten Subtle Faculties. It is not appropriate to give instruction in the Sufi way at present; there are in any case the works of the scholars of the Naqshbandi way about the Ten Subtle Faculties. Our duty at the present time is the discovery of mysteries, not the relating of existent matters. Don't be offended, I cannot give the details. I shall only say this much, that Imam-i Rabbani defined the Ten Subtle Faculties as the heart, spirit, inner heart [sirr], khafi, akhfa, and a faculty related to each of the four elements in man, and discussed briefly the progress of one faculty in each stage of the spiritual journeying.
 I myself observe that there are numerous subtle faculties in man's comprehensive disposition and vital potentialities, of which ten have become famous. The philosophers and 'externalist' scholars, even, took those Ten Faculties as the basis of their theories in another form, calling them the five external senses and five internal senses, which are the windows or samples of those Ten Faculties. In fact, man's ten subtle faculties, which are known by both the learned and ordinary people, are related to the Ten Subtle Faculties of the Sufis. For example, if faculties like the conscience, nerves, emotions, intellect, desires, power of animal appetites, and power of anger are added to the heart, spirit, and inner heart, the Ten Subtle Faculties are shown in another way. There are many other faculties in addition to these, like the sense of premonition, and various motive and appetitive powers. If the reality of this question was described, it would be very lengthy, and as I have little time, I am compelled to cut it short.
 As for your second question, about the aspect of things which looks to themselves, and the aspect which looks to their Maker [mânâ-yi ismî and mânâ-yi harfî], they are explained at the start of all books on Arabic grammar. So too there are ample explanations of them, together with comparisons, in the works of the science of reality, called The Words and Letters. For someone intelligent and exacting like yourself, further discussion would be superfluous. When you look in the mirror, if you look at it for the glass, you will intentionally see the glass; in it, Re'fet will strike the eye secondly, indirectly. Whereas if your purpose is to look at the mirror in order to see your blessed face, you will intentionally see lovable Re'fet. You will exclaim: "So blessed be God, the Best of
  1. 156

Creators!"1 The glass of the mirror will strike your eye secondly and indirectly.

 Thus, in the first instance, the glass of the mirror is 'the meaning which looks to the thing itself', while Re'fet is its 'significative meaning'. In the second instance, the glass of the mirror is 'the significative meaning', that is, it is not looked at for itself, but for another meaning; that is, the reflection. The reflection is 'the meaning which looks to the thing itself.' That is, it is included in one respect in the definition "it points to a meaning in itself." While the mirror verifies the definition of its 'significative meaning', which is "it points to the meaning of another." 
 According to the Qur'anic view, all the beings in the universe are letters, expressing through their 'significative meaning,' the meaning of another. That is, they make known the Names and attributes of that Other. Soulless philosophy for the most part looks in accordance with 'the meaning which looks to the thing itself,' and deviates into the bog of Nature. However... I do not have the time now for much talk. In fact, I cannot even write the final and easiest and most important part of the Index. Convey my greetings to your study companions, in particular, Husrev, Bekir, Rü_dü, Lütfü, Shaykh Mustafa, Hâfiz Ahmed, Sezâi, the Mehmed's, and the Hojas. I pray for the blessed innocents in your household.
 The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One!
 Your brother, 
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
 1. Qur'an, 23:14.
  1. 157


 This Flash consists of Fifteen Notes taken from Zühre.
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Twelve years before this Flash was written,1 I wrote down in note form in Arabic in such treatises as Zühre, Su'le, Habbe, Semme, Zerre, and Katre, a number of flashes concerning Divine Unity which became clear to me through dominical grace during an unfolding of the spirit and progress of the mind and journey of the heart in Divine knowledge. Since they were written to show only one tip of a lengthy truth and point out only one beam of a shining light, and since each was in the form of a memento and reminder for myself only, their benefits for others were limited. And particularly as the great majority of my most select and special brothers were unable to read Arabic. On their insistent and pressing requests, therefore, I was obliged to write in Turkish an approximation of those Notes, those flashes, in part expounding them and in part abbreviating them. Since these Notes and Arabic treatises form the first of the New Said's works arising from the knowledge of reality, which he to a degree witnessed in the form of illumination, their meanings have been written unchanged. Because of this, a number of the sentences are included here despite being mentioned in some others of the Words. And some are not expounded despite being very concise, so that the refinement of the original should not be lost.
 1. Twelve years previously was 1340H/1921.
  1. 158
 First Note
 I addressed myself saying: O heedless Said! Know that it is not worthy of you to attach your heart to something that will not accompany you after this world comes to an end and will part from you on its destruction. It is not reasonable to fasten your heart to transitory things which will turn their backs on you and leave you when the age in which you live comes to an end, and not befriend you on the journey through the Intermediate Realm, nor accompany you to the door of the grave, and which, leaving you for ever after one or two years, will burden you with their sins and out of spite abandon you at the moment of accomplishment.
 If you are sensible, you will leave matters that will be shattered and destroyed under the blows of worldly revolutions and the stages of the Intermediate Realm and clashing upheavals of the Hereafter; which are not able to accompany and befriend you on the journey to eternity. Do not give them importance. Do not grieve at their passing.
 Consider your own nature; among your subtle faculties is one that is such that it cannot be content with anything other than eternity and the Eternal One. It cannot address itself to any other than Him. It cannot demean itself for them. Should you give it the whole world, it would not satisfy that innate need. It is the sovereign of your senses and faculties. So obey that sovereign, which is obedient to the All-Wise Creator's command, and find salvation!
 Second Note
 I had a true dream in which I said to people: "O man! One of the Qur'an's principles is this: do not consider anything other than Almighty God to be greater than yourself to the degree that you worship it. And do not consider yourself to be greater than anything else to the degree that you become arrogant and haughty before it. For just as all creatures are equal in regard to their distance from being fit to be worshipped, so too are they equal in regard to their createdness.
 Third Note
 O heedless Said! You have illusions and see the exceedingly temporary world as undying and permanent. When you look around yourself at the world, you see it as stable to a degree, and constant. And so, since looking with the same view you also consider your own transient self to be constant, you only take fright at Doomsday. As though you were going to live till then, so you are only frightened at that
  1. 159

Use your reason! You and your personal world are perpetually subject to the blows of death and decline. Your illusion and sophistry resemble this comparison: If you have a mirror in your hand which you hold up to a house or a town or a garden, the image of the house, town or garden will appear in the mirror. If the tiniest movement or smallest change occur to the mirror, the images become confused and distorted. The fact that the actual house, town or garden outside the mirror continue and are constant is of no avail to you, for the house in the mirror in your hand and your town and garden are only in the scale and proportions which the mirror gives you.

 Your life is the mirror. The support and mirror of your world and its centre is your life. Every minute it is possible that the house and town and garden will die and be destroyed, their condition is such that any minute they may collapse on your head and your doomsday will come. Since it is thus, do not burden this life and world of yours with loads they cannot raise and support!
 Fourth Note
 Know that it is generally the practice of the All-Wise Creator to return important and valuable things exactly the same. That is to say, renewing most things in similar form in the alternating of the seasons and changing of the centuries, He returns the things of value and importance exactly. This law of Divine practice is seen to be mostly unvarying in the resurrections of the days, years, and centuries.
 Thus, as a consequence of this constant law, we say: since according to the agreement and testimony of science, the most perfect fruit of the tree of creation is man, and among creatures the most important is man, and among beings the most valuable is man, and since a human individual is equivalent to a species of the other animals, for sure it may be surmised with certainty that at the Supreme Resurrection, each human individual will be returned exactly the same, with his body and all his attributes.
 Fifth Note
 Since Western science and civilization had to a degree a place in the Old Said's thought, when the New Said embarked on his journeys of the mind and of the heart, they were transformed into sicknesses of the heart and were the cause of excessive difficulties. The New Said therefore wanted to shake off from his mind that fallacious philosophy and
  1. 160

dissolute civilization. In order to silence the emotions of his evil-commanding soul, which testified in favour of Europe, he was compelled to hold in his spirit the following discussion-which in one respect is very brief and in another is long-with the collective personality of Europe.

 It should not be misunderstood; Europe is two. One follows the sciences which serve justice and right and the industries beneficial for the life of society through the inspiration it has received from true Christianity; this first Europe I am not addressing. I am rather addressing the second corrupt Europe which, through the darkness of the philosophy of Naturalism, supposing the evils of civilization to be its virtues, has driven mankind to vice and misguidance. As follows:
 On my journey of the spirit at that time I said to Europe's collective personality, which apart from beneficial science and the virtues of civilization, holds in its hand meaningless, harmful philosophy and noxious, dissolute civilization:
 Know this, O second Europe! You hold a diseased and misguided philosophy in your right hand and a harmful and corrupt civilization in your left, and claim, "Mankind's happiness is with these two!" May your two hands be broken and may these two filthy presents of yours be the death of you!... And so they shall be!
 O you unhappy spirit which spreads unbelief and ingratitude! Can a man who is suffering torments and is afflicted with ghastly calamities in both his spirit and his conscience and his mind and his heart be happy through his body wallowing in a superficial, deceptive glitter and wealth? Can it be said that he is happy?
 Do you not see that on feeling despair at some minor matter and his hope for some illusory wish being lost and his being disillusioned at some insignificant business, such a person's sweet imaginings become bitter for him, what is pleasant torments him, and the world constricts him and becomes a prison for him? But what happiness can you ensure for such a wretched person who through your inauspiciousness has suffered the blows of misguidance in the deepest corners of his heart to the very foundations of his spirit, and because of this whose hopes have all been extinguished and whose pains all arise from it? Can it be said of someone whose body is in a false and fleeting paradise and whose heart and spirit are suffering the torments of Hell that he is happy? See, you have led astray wretched mankind in this way. You make them suffer the torments of Hell in a false heaven.
 O evil-commanding soul of mankind! Consider the following comparison
  1. 161

and see where you have driven mankind. For example, there are two roads before us. We take one of them and see that at every step is some wretched, powerless person. Tyrants are attacking him, seizing his property and goods, and destroying his humble house. Sometimes they wound him as well. It is such that the heavens weep at his pitiful state. Wherever one looks, things are continuing in this vein. The sounds heard on this way are the roars of tyrants and the groans of the oppressed; a universal mourning envelops the entire way. Since through his humanity man is pained at the suffering of others, he is afflicted with a boundless grief. But because his conscience cannot endure so much pain, one who travels this way is compelled to do one of two things: either he strips off his humanity and embracing a boundless savagery bears such a heart that so long as he is safe and sound, he is not affected if all the rest of mankind perish, or else he suppresses the demands of the heart and reason.

 O Europe corrupted with vice and misguidance and drawn far from the religion of Jesus! You have bestowed this hell-like state on the human spirit with your blind genius which, like the Dajjal,2 has only a single eye. You afterwards understood that this uncurable disease casts man down from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low, and reduces him to the basest level of animality. The only remedy you have found for this disease are the fantasies of entertainment and amusement and anodyne diversions which serve to temporarily numb the senses. These remedies of yours are being the death of you, and so they shall be. There! The road you have opened up for mankind and the happiness you have given them resembles this comparison.
 The second road, which the All-Wise Qur'an has bestowed on mankind, is like this: We see that in every stopping-place, every spot, every town on this road are patrols of a Just Monarch's equitable soldiers doing the rounds. From time to time at the King's command a group of the soldiers are discharged. Their rifles, horses and gear belonging to the state are taken from them and they are given their leave papers. The discharged soldiers are apparently sad to hand over their rifles and horses with which they are familiar, but in reality they are happy to be discharged and extremely pleased to visit the Monarch and return to His Court.
 Sometimes the demobilization officials come across a raw recruit who does not recognize them. "Surrender your rifle!," they say. The soldier replies: "I am a soldier of the King and I am in His service. I shall go to him later. Who are you? If you come with His permission and consent, I greet you with pleasure, show me His orders. Otherwise go away and stay
 1. Twelve years previously was 1340H/1921.
  1. 162

far from me. Even if I stay on my own and there are thousands of you, I shall still fight you. It is not for myself, because I do not own myself, I belong to my King. Indeed, my self and the rifle I have now are in trust from my owner. I shall not submit to you because I have to protect the trust and preserve my King's honour and dignity!"

 This situation then is one of thousands on the second way which cause joy and happiness. You can conclude the others for yourself. Throughout the journey on the second way there is the mobilization and despatch of troops with joy and celebrations under the name of birth, and the discharge of troops with cheer and military bands under the name of death. The All-Wise Qur'an has bestowed this road on mankind. Whoever accepts the gift wholeheartedly travels this second road leading to the happiness of both worlds. He feels neither grief at the things of the past nor fear at those of the future.
 O second corrupted Europe! A number of your rotten and baseless foundations are as follows. You say: "Every living being from the greatest angel to the tiniest fish owns itself and works for itself and struggles for its own pleasure. It has the right to life. Its aim and purpose and all its endeavour is to live and continue its life." And supposing to be conflict the compassionate, munificent manifestations of the universal law of the All-Generous Creator which is manifest through plants hastening to the assistance of animals and animals hastening to the assistance of man through a principle of mutual assistance, which is conformed to in perfect obedience by all the principal beings of the universe, you declare idiotically: "Life is conflict."
 How can particles of food hastening with total eagerness to nourish the cells of the body-a manifestation of that principle of mutual assistance-be conflict? How can it be a clash and struggle? Rather, that hastening and assistance is mutual help at the command of a Munificent Sustainer.
 And one of your rotten foundations is, as you say: "Everything owns itself." A clear proof that nothing owns itself is this: among causes the most noble and with regard to choice the one with the most extensive will is man. But out of a hundred parts of the most obvious acts connected to man's will like thinking, speaking, and eating, only a single, doubtful, part is given to the hand of his will and is within the sphere of his power. So how can it be said of one who does not own one hundredth of the most obvious acts such as those that he owns himself?
 If the highest beings with the most extensive will are thus inhibited from real power and ownership to this degree, someone who says: "The rest of beings, animate and inanimate, own themselves" merely proves
  1. 163

that he is more animal than the animals and more lifeless and unconscious than inanimate beings.

 What pushes you into such an error and casts you into this abyss is your one-eyed genius. That is, your extraordinary, ill-omened brilliance. Because of that blind genius of yours, you have forgotten your Sustainer, Who is the the Creator of all things, you have attributed His works to imaginary Nature and causes, you have divided up the Creator's property among idols, false gods. In regard to this and in the view of your genius, every living creature and every human being has to resist innumerable enemies on his own and struggle to procure his endless needs. And they are compelled to withstand those innumerable enemies and needs with the power of a minute particle, a fine thread-like will, a fleeting flash-like consciousness, a fast extinguishing flame-like life, a life which passes in a minute. But the capital of those wretched animate creatures is insufficient to answer even one of the thousands of their demands. When smitten by disaster, they can await no salve for their pain other than from deaf, blind causes. They manifest the meaning of the verse:
 For the prayer of those without faith is nothing but [futile] wandering [in the mind].3
 Your dark genius has transformed mankind's daytime into night. And in order to warm that dark, distressing, unquiet night, you have only illuminated them with deceptive, temporary lamps. Those lamps do not smile with joy in the face of mankind, they rather smirk idiotically at their pitiful and lamentable state. Those lights mock and make fun of them.
 In the view of your pupils, all living beings are miserable and calamity-striken, subject to the assaults of oppressors. The world is a place of universal mourning. The sounds in the world are the cries and wails arising from death and suffering. The pupil who has absorbed your instruction thoroughly becomes a pharaoh. But he is an abased pharaoh, who worships the most base thing and considers himself to be lord over everything he reckons advantageous. A student of yours is obstinate. But an obstinate wretch who accepts utter abasement for a single pleasure. He demonstrates despicableness to the degree of kissing Satan's foot for some worthless benefit. And he is a bully. But because he has no point of support in his heart, he is in fact a most impotent bullying braggart. The aim and endeavour of this pupil is to satisfy the lusts of the soul, to cunningly seek his own personal benefits under the screen of patriotism and self-sacrifice, and work to satisfy his ambition and pride. He loves
 3. Qur'an, 13:14.
  1. 164

seriously nothing at all other than himself and sacrifices everything for his own sake.

 As for the sincere and total student of the Qur'an, he is a worshipping servant. But he is an esteemed servant who does not stoop to bow in worship before even the mightiest of creatures, and does not make a supreme benefit like Paradise the aim of his worship. And he is mild and gentle. But at the same time he is noble and gracious and does not lower himself before any but the All-Glorious Creator. And other than with His permission and at His command, he does not stoop before the lowly. And he is needy. But due to the reward his All-Generous Owner is storing up for him in the future, he is at the same time self-sufficient. And he is weak. But he is strong in his weakness, for he relies on the strength of his Lord Whose power is infinite. Would the Qur'an make its true student take this fleeting, transient world as his aim and purpose while it does not make him take even eternal Paradise as his goal? Thus you can understand how different from one another are the aims and endeavours of the two students.
 You can further compare the zeal and self-sacrifice of the All-Wise Qur'an's students with the pupils of sick philosophy as follows:
 The student of philosophy flees from his own brother for his own sake and a files a lawsuit against him. Whereas, considering all the righteous worshippers in the heavens and on the earth to be his brother, the student of the Qur'an makes supplications for them in the most sincere fashion. He is happy at their happiness and he feels a powerful connection with them in his spirit, so that in his supplications he says: "Oh God, grant forgiveness to all believing men and women!" Furthermore, he considers the greatest things, the Divine Throne and the sun, to be each subservient officials, and servants and creatures like himself.
 Also, compare in the following the loftiness and expansion of spirit of the two students: The Qur'an imparts such a joy and loftiness to the spirits of its students that instead of the ninety-nine beads of the prayer-beads, it places in their hands the minute particles of ninety-nine worlds displaying the manifestations of the ninety-nine Divine Names, and says to them: "Recite your invocations with these!" Listen to the invocations of students of the Qur'an like Shah-i Geylani, Rufa'i, and Shazeli (May God be pleased with them)! See, they hold in their hands the strings of particles, the droplets of water, the breaths of all creatures, and recite their invocations with them. They praise and glorify God with them and mention His Most Beautiful Names.
 Thus, look at the miraculous instruction of the Qur'an of Miraculous
  1. 165

Exposition and see how man is elevated by it-insignificant man who is stunned and confused at some minor grief and tiny sorrow and defeated by a microscopic germ. See how his inner senses expand so that he sees the beings in the mighty world to be inadequate as prayer-beads for his invocations. And although he considers Paradise to be insufficient as the aim of his invocations and recitations of the Divine Names, he does not see himself as superior to the lowest of Almighty God's creatures. He combines the utmost dignity with the utmost humility. You can see from this how abject and base are philosophy's students.

 Thus, concerning the truths which the one-eyed genius proceeding from the sick philosophy of Europe sees wrongly, the guidance of the Qur'an-which looks at the two worlds with two shining eyes familiar with the Unseen and points with two hands to the two happinesses for mankind-says:
 O man! The self and property which you have is not yours; it is in trust to you. The owner of the trust is an All-Compassionate and Munificent One, powerful over all things and with knowledge of all things. He wants to buy from you the property you hold so that He can guard it for you and it will not be lost. He will give you a good price for it in the future. You are a soldier under orders and charged with duties. Work in His name and act on His account. For He sends you the things you need as sustenance and protects you from the things you are unable to bear. The aim and result of this life of yours is to manifest the Names and attributes of your Owner. When a calamity comes your way, say:
 To God we belong, and to Him is our return.4
 That is to say, "I am in the service of my Owner. And so, O calamity, if you have come with His permission and consent, greetings, you are welcome! For anyway we shall return to Him some time and enter His presence, and we yearn for Him. Since He will in any event release us from the responsibilities of life, let the release and discharge be at your hand, O calamity, I consent to it. But if He has ordered and decreed your coming as a trial for my dutifulness and loyality in preserving my trust, then without His permission and consent to surrender it to you, so long as I have the power, I will not surrender my Owner's trust to one not certainly charged to receive it."
 Thus, look at this one example out of a thousand and see the degrees in the instruction given by the genius of philosophy and guidance of the Qur'an. Indeed, the reality of the two sides proceeds in the manner
 4. Qur'an, 2:156.
  1. 166

described above. But the degrees of people in guidance and misguidance are different, and the degrees of heedlessness are different. Everyone cannot perceive completely this truth in every degree, because heedlessness numbs the senses. And in the present age it has numbed the senses to such a degree that the civilized do not feel this grievous pain and suffering. However, the veil of heedlessness is being rent through increased sensitivity due to developments in science and the warnings of death which every day displays thirty thousand corpses. Utter abhorrence and a thousand regrets should be felt for those who take the way of misguidance due to the Europeans' idols and sciences of Naturalism, and for those who follow them and imitate them blindly!

 O sons of this land! Do not try to imitate Europeans! How can you reasonably trust in and follow the vice and invalid, worthless thought of Europe after the boundless tyranny and enmity it has shown you? No! No! You who imitate them in dissoluteness, you are not following them, but unconsciously joining their ranks and putting to death both yourselves and your brothers. Know that the more you follow them in immorality the more you lie in claiming to be patriots! Because your following them in this way is to hold your nation in contempt, to hold the nation up to ridicule!
 God guides us, and you, to the Straight Path.
 Sixth Note
 O you unhappy person who is alarmed at the great numbers of the unbelievers and their agreement in denying some of the truths of belief, and as a result is shaken in his faith! You should know that value and importance do not lie in quantity and number. For if man is not a true human being, he is transformed into a diabolical animal, and the more man increases in animal greed, the more animal he becomes-like some Europeans and their imitators. You can see that with regard to quantity and number, men are extremely few in comparison to the boundless numbers of animals, and yet they are sovereign rulers over all the animal species and God's vicegerents on earth. 
 Thus, the harmful unbelievers and those depraved wretches who follow in their way are a vicious species among Almighty God's animals which the All-Wise Maker has created for the development and prosperity of the world. He has made them a unit of measurement in order to let His believing servants know the degrees of the bounties He has bestowed on them, and finally will consign those animals to the Hell they deserve.
 There is no power in the unbelievers and misguided denying and negating a truth of belief. Their agreement has no power; a thousand
  1. 167

deniers are equal to one denier. For example, even if the whole population of Istanbul denies seeing the new moon at the beginning of Ramadan, the proven testimony of two witnesses invalidates the negation and agreement of that great multitude. Since in reality unbelief and misguidance are negation and denial, they are ignorance and non-existence, and the agreement of unbelievers in great numbers even has no significance. In matters of belief, which are true, established, and whose validity is proved, the judgement of two believers based on certain witnessing takes preference and prevails over the agreement of those vast numbers of the misguided. The reason for this fact is as follows:

 Superficially, the claims of those who deny are the same, but in fact they are diverse and cannot unite in order to gain strength. While the claims of those who affirm unite and receive strength from each other. This is because a person who does not see the new moon of Ramadan in the sky says: "In my view, there is no moon. It has not appeared that I can see." And another says: "In my view, the moon has not appeared." And so does another. Each says that in his own view, there is no moon. Since the view of each is different, and the causes that prevent them seeing it may also be different, their claims are all different as well; each claim cannot reinforce the other claims. But those who are affirming it are not saying: "In my view and opinion the new moon is there," but, "The reality of the situation is that the new moon has appeared in the sky." Those who sight it all make the same claim and say: "The reality of the situation is..." That is to say, all the claims are the same. While, since the views of those who are denying it are all different, their claims also are different. They are not making the judgement according to the reality of the situation. Because negating the reality of the situation cannot be proved; for that, an all-embracing proof is necessary.
 It is an established rule that "absolute non-existence can only be proved with extreme difficulty." Yes, if you claim that a particular thing exists in the world, it is enough to merely point that thing out. But if you say it does not exist and you deny it, the whole world has to be sifted through in order to demonstrate it so that the denial can be proved. It is as a consequence of this that the unbelievers denying a truth is like solving a problem or passing through a narrow hole or jumping over a ditch; a thousand men are the same as one man, because they cannot help one another. But since those who affirm look at the heart of the matter and reality of the situation, their claims unite, and the individual strength of all of them combines and assists them. It resembles lifting a great boulder: the more hands there are, the more strength they receive and the easier it becomes. 
  1. 168
 Seventh Note
 O miserable pseudo-patriot who fervently encourages Muslims to embrace this world and forcibly drives them to European industry and progress! Beware, do not let the bonds with which certain members of this nation are tied to religion be broken! If thus foolishly blindly imitating and crushed under foot, their bonds with religion are broken, those irreligious people will become as harmful for the life of society as fatal poison. For since an apostate's conscience is completely corrupted, he becomes like poison in the life of society. It is because of this that according to the science of the principles of religion, "The apostate does not have the right to life, whereas if an unbeliever is a member of the protected minorities or he makes peace, he has the right to life;" this is a principle of the Shari'a. Furthermore, according to the Hanafi school, the testimony of such an unbeliever is acceptable, whereas the testimony of someone who has strayed from the path of the Shari'a is rejected. For he is perfidious.
 O miserable sinner who has deviated from Shari'a! Do not look at the multitude of the dissolute and be deceived; do not say: "Most people think the same as me!" For the depraved do not want to embrace depravity; they rather fall into it and cannot extricate themselves. There is no sinner who does not want to be righteous and who does not want to see his superior and chief as religious. Other than if-I seek refuge with God!-his conscience is corrupted through apostasy and he receives pleasure from poisoning, like a snake.
 O crazy head and corrupted heart! Do you suppose that Muslims do not love the world, or that they do not think about the poverty into which they have fallen, and that they are in need of admonishment so that they do not forget their share of the world?
 Your supposition is false, your surmise, wrong. Their greed has increased; that is the reason they are impoverished. Because for Muslims, greed causes loss and indigence. The saying: "The greedy is subject to loss and disappointment" has become proverbial.
 Yes, there are many things calling and driving man to the world, like the soul and its appetites, and need, and his senses and emotions, and the Devil, and the superficial enticement of the world, and bad friends like you. While those who call to the Hereafter, which lasts for ever, and to long-lasting eternal life, are few. If you possess even an iota of patriotism towards this nation and the high aspirations you brag about are not lies, you should help the few who call to eternal life. For if you silence them and help the many, you will be befriending Satan!
  1. 169

Do you suppose this nation's poverty is the result of a sort of religious asceticism or of laziness arising from abandoning the world? You are wrong to suppose that. Do you not see that the nations dominated by Europe like China, and the Brahmins and Zoroastrians of India, and the blacks of Africa are poorer than we are? And do you not see that nothing apart from the most basic subsistence is left in the hands of Muslims? The rest is either stolen or seized by the European infidel tyrants or the dissemblers of Asia.

 You should be certain that if your intention in forcibly driving the people of belief to degenerate civilization in this way is the country's order and security and easy administration, you are mistaken and you are driving them down the wrong way. For it is more difficult to govern a hundred degenerates whose belief is shaken and morals corrupted, and to maintain public security among them, than to govern thousands of the righteous.
 Thus, according to these principles, the people of Islam are not in need of being encouraged and driven to the world and to greed. Progress and public order cannot be secured in that way. They are rather in need of having their working conditions set in order, of security being established among them, and of having the principle of co-operation encouraged. And these needs can be brought about through the sacred commands of religion, and fear of God, and firm adherence to religion.
 Eighth Note
 O idle man who does not know the pleasure of effort and happiness of work! Know that out of His perfect munificence, Almighty God placed the reward for work within it. He included the wage for work within the work itself. It is for this reason that in their particular duties, which are called creative commands, beings, and even from one point of view inanimate creatures, conform to the dominical commands with complete eagerness and a sort of pleasure. Everything from bees, flies, and chickens to the sun and the moon carry out their duties with perfect pleasure. That means there is an enjoyment in their work so that they perform it perfectly, although they do not think of the results and consequences since they do not possess intelligence.
 I f y o u s a y : "Living creatures have the ability to receive pleasure, but how can inanimate beings experience eagerness and enjoyment?"
 T h e A n s w e r : Inanimate beings desire and seek a position, a rank, perfection, beauty, and order, not on their own accounts, but on account of the Divine Names manifested on them. They become
  1. 170

illumined and progress because in performing their natural duties, they each become like mirrors and places of reflection of the Names of the Light of Lights.

 For example, if, although they are unimportant and of themselves without light, a droplet of water or fragment of glass are turned with their pure hearts to the sun, they become sorts of thrones to the sun and smile at you. Similarly, through being mirrors in respect of their duties to the Names of the All-Glorious One, Who possesses absolute beauty and perfection, like the droplet and fragment of glass, particles and beings rise from a very lowly position to a most elevated degree of manifestation and illumination. Since in regard to their duties they rise to a most luminous and exalted rank, it may be said that if it is possible and they have the capacity to receive pleasure, that is, if they receive a share of general life, they perform their duties with perfect pleasure.
 For clear evidence that there is pleasure to be found in the performance of duties consider your own members and emotions. Each receives different pleasures in performing the duties for your personal survival and the survival of the human race. The duties themselves are like a means of enjoyment for them, while to give up a duty is a sort of torment for a member.
 Another clear evidence is the self-sacrifice and courage which animals like cocks and hens with chicks display in performing their duties: even if it is hungry, the cock prefers the hens to itself, summoning them to eat. It does not eat itself but allows them to do so. And it is clear that it feels pleasure, pride and enjoyment in carrying out this duty. This means it receives greater pleasure from doing that than from eating. The hen too, will sacrifice its life for its chicks, throwing itself at a dog. And it will remain hungry and give them to eat. That is to say, it receives such pleasure in its duty that it makes preferable the pains of hunger and pangs of death.
 Animal mothers receive pleasure in trying to protect their young, it is their duty when the young are small. When they are grown, the duty ceases and so does the pleasure. The mothers beat their children and take the grains of feed from them. Only, for human mothers the duties continue for some time, because in regard to their weakness and impotence, humans are always children in one respect, and are all the time in need of compassion.
 And so, consider the males and females of the animal species, like the mother hen and the cock, which acts as shepherd, and understand that they do not perform these duties on their own account, in their own
  1. 171

names, or for their own perfections. For if it is necessary to sacrifice their lives in the course of their duties, they do so. They rather perform them on account of the Munificent Bestower of Bounties, the All-Glorious Creator, Who employs them in their duties, in which, through His mercy, He includes pleasure.

 And evidence that the wage is present in the duty itself is this: plants and trees conform to the Glorious Creator's commands in a manner that implies eagerness and pleasure. For the fragrant scents they disperse, and their being adorned with decorations that attract the looks of their customers, and their sacrificing themselves for their shoots and fruits until they rot, shows to the attentive that they receive such pleasure in conforming to the Divine commands that it rots and destroys them.
 Look, fruit-bearing trees like the coconut, which bears so many cans of milk on its head, and the fig, request through the tongue of disposition the finest food like milk from the treasury of mercy; they receive it and give it to their fruits to eat, while they content themselves with muddy water.
 In seeds also a longing is clearly apparent in their duty of germinating and sending out shoots. Like someone imprisoned in a constricted place longs to go out into a garden or open space, such a longing, such a joyful state, is also apparent in seeds, in their duty of sprouting.
 Thus, it is because of this long and mysterious principle, which is in force in the universe and is called "Divine practice," that those idle and lazy people who live in ease and affluence for the most part suffer more trouble and distress than those who strive and work. For the idle always complain about their lives, and want to pass them quickly through indulging in amusements. Whereas the one who works and strives is thankful and offers praise and does not want his life to pass quickly. "The one who lives in idleness and ease complains about his life, while the hard working striver is thankful" is a universal principle. It is also for this reason that the saying "Ease lies in hardship, and hardship in ease" has become proverbial.
 Indeed, if inanimate creatures are studied carefully, it will be seen that on the innate capacities and abilities of those which have not developed expanding from the potential to the actual through great effort and exertion, a state in accordance with the above-mentioned Divine practice is apparent. This state indicates that in the natural duty is an eagerness and pleasure. If the inanimate creature partakes of general life, the eagerness is its own; otherwise it pertains to the thing which represents and supervises the inanimate creature. It may even be said as a consequence of this
  1. 172

that when subtle, delicate water receives the command to freeze, it conforms to the command with such intense eagerness that it splits iron, breaking it into pieces. That is to say, in conveying the dominical command of "Expand!" with the tongue of freezing sub-zero temperature to the water in a closed iron container, it breaks the container with its intense eagerness. It splits the iron and itself becomes ice.

 You can make analogies with this for everything. From the rotations of the suns and their journeyings and peregrinations to the spinning and turning and vibrations of minute particles like Mevlevi dervishes, all striving and motion in the universe turns on the law of Divine Determining and proceeds from the hand of Divine Power and is manifested through the creative command which comprises Divine Will, Knowledge, and Command.
 Each particle, each being, each living being, even, resembles a soldier who has different relations with all the sections of the army and different duties in each; all particles and living beings are similar to that. For example, a particle in your eye has a relation with the cells of the eye, with the eye, the facial nerves, and the blood vessels of the body; and it has duties in accordance with those relations, and yields benefits in accordance with each of those duties. And so on, you can compare everything with this. Thus, everything testifies to the Necessary Existence of the Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One in two respects: 
 T h e F i r s t : By carrying out duties far exceeding its own power, everything testifies to the All-Powerful One's existence.
 T h e S e c o n d : Through acting in conformity with the laws that form the order of the world and principles which perpetuate the balance of beings, everything testifies to that All-Knowing and All-Powerful One. For lifeless things like particles, and tiny animals like bees cannot know order and balance, which are the subtle, important matters of the Clear Book. How can a lifeless particle and tiny bee read the subtle, significant matters of the Clear Book, which is in the hand of the All-Glorious One, Who opens and closes and gathers up the levels of the heavens as though they were the pages of a notebook? If you crazily suppose the particle to possess an eye capable of reading the fine letters of that book, then you can try to refute the particle's testimony!
 Yes, the All-Wise Creator summarizes the principles of the Clear Book in most beautiful form and abbreviated fashion and with a particular pleasure and through a special need, and includes them in beings. If everything acts thus with a particular pleasure out of a particular need, it unknowingly conforms to the principles of the Clear Book. For example,
  1. 173

the minute the mosquito with its proboscis comes into the world, it emerges from its house, and not stopping, attacks man's face; it strikes it with its long staff causing the water of life to spurt out, and it drinks it. It shows the skill of a practised warrior in dodging blows directed at it. Who taught the tiny, inexperienced, newly born creature the science of war and art of extracting water? And where did it learn it? I, that is, this unfortunate Said, confess that if I had been in the place of that mosquito with its proboscis, I could only have learnt this art, this warfare of attack and retreat, this extracting of water, only after lengthy instruction and much experience.

 And so, compare animals like the bee, who receives inspiration, the spider, and the nightingale, who weaves his nest like a stocking, with the mosquito, and you can even compare plants to these animals in just the same way. Yes, the Absolutely Generous One (May His glory be exalted) has given each living being a memorandum written with the pen of pleasure and ink of need, and with it has deposited in the being the programme of the creative commands and index of its duties. See how the All-Wise One of Glory has written on a receipt the amount concerning the bee's duties, from the principles of the Clear Book, and placed it in the coffer in the bee's head. And the key to the coffer is the pleasure particular to the diligent bee. With it, it opens the coffer, reads the programme, understands the command, and acts. It proclaims the meaning of the verse,
 And your Sustainer has inspired the bee.5
 If you have listened to the whole of this Eighth Note and understood it completely, through the intuition of belief, you will understand one meaning of, 
 And His mercy embraces all things, 
 and one truth of the verse,
 And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise,6
 and one principle of the verse,
 Verily when He intends a thing, His command is "Be!" and it is,7
 and one point of the verse,
 So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things; and to Him will you all be brought back.8
 5. Qur'an, 16:68.
 6. Qur'an, 17:44.
 7. Qur'an, 36:82.
 8. Qur'an, 36:83.
  1. 174
 Ninth Note
 Know that prophethood in mankind is the summary and foundation of man's good and perfections; the True Religion is the index of prosperity and happiness; belief is a sheer, transcendent good. Since in this world a shining beauty, an extensive and exalted good, an evident truth, and superior perfection are apparent, self-evidently truth and reality lie in prophethood and in the hands of prophets. While evil, misguidance, and loss are with those who oppose them.
 Of the thousands of merits of worship, consider only the following: the Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) unites the hearts of those who affirm Divine Unity in the prayers of the Festivals and of Friday, and prayers performed in congregation. And he brings together their tongues in a single phrase. This is in such a way that one man responds to the mighty address of the Pre-Eternal Worshipped One with the voices, supplications, and invocations uttered by innumerable hearts and tongues. Strengthening each other, assisting each other and uniting, those voices, supplications, and invocations display so expansive a worship before the Godhead of the Pre-Eternal All-Worshipped One that it is as if the globe of the earth is reciting the invocations, offering the supplications, and performing the prayers with its regions, and conforming with its climes to the command of
 And be steadfast in prayer,9
 which was revealed with glory and tremendousness from beyond the heavens. Through this mystery of unity, man, a miniscule, powerless creature in the universe like a particle, in respect of vastness of worship becomes a beloved servant of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, His vicegerent on earth, the earth's ruler and chief of the animals, and the result and aim of the universe's creation.
 Yes, if the voices of hundreds of millions of people proclaiming "God is Most Great!" after the five daily prayers, and particularly in the Festival Prayers, unite and come together in the Manifest World as they do in the World of the Unseen, the globe of the earth in its entirety becomes a huge human being. Since the "God is Most Great!" it proclaims with a mighty voice is equal to its own greatness, the believers in Divine Unity proclaiming "God is Most Great!" at the same instant in unison becomes like a mighty "God is Most Great!" uttered by the earth. It is as though the earth is shaken with a great tremor through the invocations and glorifications of the World of Islam at the Festival Prayers. Proclaiming "God
 9. Qur'an, 2:43, etc.
  1. 175

is Most Great!" with all its regions and climes, it forms its intention with the pure heart of the Ka'ba, its qibla, and on its uttering "God is Most Great!" with the tongue of Mount Arafat in the mouth of Mecca, that single phrase assumes a form in the air in the cave-like mouths of all the believers in all parts of the earth. Just as through the echo of the words "God is Most Great!" innumerable "God is Most Great's" come into being, so too that acceptable recitation and invocation causes the heavens to ring out and resounds rising and falling in the Intermediate Realms.

 And so, we praise and glorify and exalt to the number of the particles of the earth the All-Glorious One, Who made the earth thus prostrate to Him in worship, glorifying and exalting Him, and made it a mosque for His servants and cradle for His creatures. And we offer praise to Him to the number of beings that He made us the Community of the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), who taught us worship of this kind.
 Tenth Note
 Know, O heedless, confused Said! Attaining to the light of knowledge of God and looking on it, and seeing its manifestations in the mirrors of signs and witnesses, and beholding its proofs and evidences, necessitates your not examining it with the fingers of criticism. Do not examine critically every light that passes over you or occurs to your heart or appears to your mind, nor criticize it with the hand of hesitation. Do not stretch out your hand to catch hold of a light that appears to you. Rather withdraw from the things that cause heedlessness, be turned to the light, and wait. For I have observed that the witnesses and proofs of knowledge of God are of three sorts:
 O n e S o r t is like water. It is visible and palpable, but cannot be held with the fingers. For this sort, one has to detach oneself from illusions and submerge oneself in it as a whole. It cannot be spied on with the fingers of criticism; if it is, it flows away and is lost. The water of life cannot make the finger its dwelling!
 T h e S e c o n d S o r t is like air. It may be perceived, but it is neither visible, nor may be held. You should turn towards it with your face, your mouth, your spirit, and hold yourself before that breeze of mercy. But do not stretch out the hand of criticism towards it, for you will be unable to hold it. Breathe it with your spirit. If you look on it with the eye of hesitation and lay hands on it by criticizing it, it will leave you and depart. It will not make your hand its dwelling; it could not be content with it!
  1. 176
 As for T h e T h i r d S o r t , it is like light. It is visible, but is neither palpable nor may it be held. So you should hold yourself before it with the heart's eye and spirit's vision; you should direct your gaze towards it and wait. Perhaps it will come of its own accord. For light cannot be held in the hand nor hunted with the fingers; it can be hunted only with the light of insight and intuition. If you stretch out a grasping, physical hand and weigh it on material scales, even if it is not extinguished, it will hide itself. For just as such light will not be content to be imprisoned in matter, so too it may not be restricted, nor accept dense things as its lord and master.
 Eleventh Note
 Know that there is much kindness and compassion in the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition's manner of expression, for the majority fo those it adderesses are the mass of ordinary people. Their minds are simple, and since their view does not penetrate to fine things, it repeats the signs inscribed on the face of the heavens and earth in order to flatter their simple minds. It makes it easy to read those large letters. For example, it teaches signs that are clearly apparent and easily read, like the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the rain being made to fall from the sky, and the raising to life of the earth. It rarely directs attention to the subtle signs written in small letters among those large letters, so that ordinary people should not experience difficulty in reading them.
 And there is an eloquence, fluency, and naturalness in the styles of the Qur'an whereby it is as though it is a hafiz; it recites the verses inscribed with the pen of power on the pages of the universe. It is as though the Qur'an is the recitation of the book of the universe and the verbal expression of its order, and reads out the Pre-Eternal Inscriber's attributes and writes His acts and deeds. If you want to see this eloquence of expression, listen with an aware and attentive heart to decrees like Sura 'Amma'10 and the verse,
 Say: O God! Lord of All Dominion11
 Twelfth Note
 O my friends who are listening to these Notes! You should know that the reason for my sometimes writing down the prayers, entreaties, and supplications of my heart to my Sustainer, which ought to be secret, is 
 10. Sura 78, The Great News.
 11. Qur'an, 3:26.
  1. 177

to request Divine mercy to accept the words of my writing when death has silenced the words of my tongue. Yes, the repentence and regret of my short-lived tongue is insufficient to atone for my numberless sins. The tongue of writing is constant and permanent to an extent, and more effectual. And so, thirteen years ago,12 when as the result of an upheaval and storm of the spirit the laughter of the Old Said was being transformed into the weeping of the New Said-at a time I awoke from the heedless sleep of youth in the morning of old age-I wrote these entreaties and supplications in Arabic. The Turkish meaning of a part of them is as follows:

 O my Compassionate Sustainer and Munificent Creator! Through making the wrong choice my life and youth are lost and gone, and all that has remained to me as their fruits are grievous sins, abasing sorrows, and misguiding doubts and scruples. I am drawing close to the grave shame-faced with this heavy load and sick heart. Like, without choice or deviating to left or right, all my friends, peers, and relations are dying before my eyes, I too am nearing the door of the grave.
 The grave is the first stopping-place on the road leading from this fleeting realm to everlasting separation and all eternity; it is the first door opening onto it. I have understood with absolute certainty that the realm of this world, to which I am attached and by which I am captivated, is transient and will die, will perish and depart. And as is to be observed, the beings within it travel on convoy after convoy and disappear. Especially for those like me with evil-commanding souls, this world is exceedingly cruel and treacherous. For one pleasure, it inflicts a thousand pains. For a single grape, it deals a hundred slaps.
 O my Compassionate Sustainer and Munificent Creator! In accordance with the saying "Everything that is coming is close," I see now that soon I will have donned my shroud, mounted the bier, bade farewell to my friends. Approaching my grave I call out to the Court of Your Mercy through the mute tongue of my corpse and the articulate tongue of my spirit: "Mercy! Mercy! O Most Kind, Most Clement! Deliver me from the shame of my sins!"
 Now I have reached the brink of my grave. I am standing at the head of my corpse stretched out beside it. Raising my head to the Court of Your Mercy, I cry out beseeching with all my strength: "Mercy! Mercy! Most Clement! Most Kind! Deliver me from the heavy burden of my sins!"
 Now I have entered my grave, I am wrapped in my shroud. Those who
 12. Thirteen years before this treatise was written. [That is, 1920 or 1921 - Tr.]
  1. 178

came to send me on my way have left me alone and departed. I await Your forgiveness and mercy. I see clearly that there is no place of refuge or succour other than You. I cry out with all my strength at the ugly face of sin, the savage form of rebellion against God, at the narrowness of the place:

 "Mercy! Mercy! Most Merciful One! Most Clement! Most Kind! Just Judge! Deliver me from the companionship of my ugly sins! Broaden my place! My God! Your mercy is my recourse. Your Beloved, the Mercy to All the Worlds, the means to Your mercy. I complain, not about You, but about my soul and my state. 
 "O my Munificent Creator and Compassionate Sustainer! Your creature and servant called Said is both rebellious, and impotent, and heedless, and ignorant, and sick, and base, and a sinner, and aged, and a wrong-doer, and like a runaway slave; but after forty years he has repented and wants to return to Your Court. He seeks refuge in Your mercy. He confesses his countless sins and errors. Suffering from doubts and every sort of affliction, he beseeches and entreats You. If out of Your perfect mercy You accept him, if You forgive and have mercy on him, that is anyway Your mark. For You are the Most Merciful of the Merciful. If You do not accept me, which door can I approach? What other door is there? There is no sustainer other than You whose court may be approached. There is no true object of worship other than You in whom I can seek refuge."
 There is no god but You, You are One, You have no partner; the last word in this world, and the first word in the Hereafter, and in the grave, is: I testify that there is no god but God, and I testify that Muhammad is His Prophet, may God Almighty grant him blessings and peace!
 Thirteenth Note
 This consists of Five Matters which have been the cause of confusion.
 T h e F i r s t M a t t e r 
 Although those who work and strive on the way of Truth should think only of their own duties, they think of those that pertain to Almighty God, base their actions on them, and fall into error. It is written in the work Adabu'd-Din wa'd-Dunya, that one time Satan tempted Jesus (Upon whom be peace) saying: "Since the appointed hour of death and all things are specified by Divine Determining, throw yourself down from this high place, and see, you'll die." Jesus (Upon whom be peace) replied: "God
  1. 179

tries his servants, but His servants may not try their Sustainer." That is, "Almighty God tests his servant, saying to him: If you do that I shall do this. Let's see, are you able to do it. But His servant does not have the right and power to test Almighty God and say: If I do that, will You do this? To assume such a manner, as though subjecting Almighty God's dominicality to test and examination, is bad conduct and contrary to worship and man's being God's slave." Since this is the case, man should do his own duty and not interfere in Almighty God's business.

 It is well-known that when one of the heroes of Islam who many times defeated Jenghis Khan's army, Jalaluddin Khwarazmshah, was going to the war, his ministers and followers said to him: "You will be victorious; Almighty God will make you victor." He replied: "I am charged by God's command to act on the way of jihad, I do not interfere in God's concerns. To make us victor or vanquished is His business." Thus, due to understanding the mystery of submission, he was wondrously victorious on numerous occasions.
 Indeed, in his voluntary actions, man should not think of the results which pertain to Almighty God. For example, for a number of our brothers, the people joining the Risale-i Nur fires their enthusiasm and makes them increase their efforts. And when the people do not listen, the weak ones among them become demoralized and their enthusiasm wanes to an extent. Whereas the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), who was the Absolute Master, Universal Leader, and Perfect Guide, took as his absolute guide the Divine decree,
 No more is the Prophet bound to do than deliver the message,13
 and when people held back and did not listen, conveyed the message with greater effort, endeavour, and seriousness. For in accordance with the verse,
 It is true you will not be able to guide everyone whom you love; but God guides those whom He will,14
 he understood that making people listen and guiding them was Almighty God's concern. And he did not interfere in God's concerns.
 And so, my brothers! You too do not interfere by basing your actions on what is not your business, and do not take up a position testing your Creator!
 T h e S e c o n d M a t t e r 
 Worship and servitude of God look to the Divine command and
 13. Qur'an, 5:99.
 14. Qur'an, 28:56.
  1. 180

Divine pleasure. The reason for worship is the Divine command and its result is Divine pleasure. Its fruits and benefits look to the Hereafter. But so long as they are not the ultimate reason and not intentionally sought, benefits looking to this world and fruits which come about themselves and are given are not contrary to worship. They are rather as though to encourage the weak and make them choose worship. If those fruits and benefits are the reason for the invocation or recitation, or a part of the reason, it in part invalidates the worship. Indeed, it renders the meritorious invocation fruitless, and produces no results.

 And so, those who do not understand this mystery, recite for example the Awrad-i Qudsiya-i Shah Naqshband, which yields a hundred benefits and merits, or Jawshan al-Kabir, which yields a thousand, making some of those benefits their prime intention. Then they do not receive the benefits, and shall not receive them, and do not have the right to receive them. For the benefits may not be the reason for the invocation and may not themselves be intended and sought. For they are obtained when unsought for, as a consequence of the sincere invocation, as a favour. If they are intended, it damages the sincerity to an extent. Indeed, it ceases being worship and looses all value. There is just this, that weak people are in need of something to encourage them to recite meritorious invocations such as those. If they think of the benefits and eagerly recite them purely for God's sake and for the Hereafter, it causes no harm and is even acceptable. It is because this instance of wisdom has not been understood that when they do not receive the benefits narrated from the spiritual poles and righteous ones of former generations, many of them come to doubt, or even to deny them.
 T h e T h i r d M a t t e r 
 "Happy is the man who knows his limits and does not exceed them." The sun has manifestations from a fragment of glass, to a droplet of water, a pool, the ocean, and the moon to the planets. Each contains the sun's reflection and image in accordance with its capacity, and knows its limits. In accordance with its capacity, a drop of water says: "There is a reflection of the sun on me." But it cannot say: "I am a mirror like the ocean." In just the same way, there are degrees in the ranks of the saints, in accordance with the variety of the manifestations of the Divine Names. Each of the Divine Names has manifestations like a sun, from the heart to the Divine Throne. The heart too is a Throne, but it cannot say: "I too am like the Divine Throne."
 Thus, those who proceed reluctantly and with pride instead of knowing their impotence, poverty, faults, and defects, and prostrating entreatingly
  1. 181

before the Divine Court, which form the basis of worship, hold their miniscule hearts equal to the Divine Throne. They confuse their drop-like stations with the ocean-like stations of the saints. They stoop to artificiality, false display, and meaningless self-advertisement in order to make themselves fitting for those high ranks, and cause themselves many difficulties.

 I n S h o r t : There is a Hadith which says: "All will perish save those who know, and those who know will perish save those who act, and those who act will perish save the sincere, and the sincere are in grave danger." That is to say, the only means of salvation and deliverance is sincerity. It is of the greatest importance to gain sincerity. The tiniest act performed with sincerity is preferable to tons of those performed without sincerity. A person should think that what gains sincerity in his actions is doing them purely because they are a Divine command and that their result is Divine pleasure, and he should not interfere in God's business.
 There is sincerity in everything. A jot of love, even, with sincerity is superior to tons of official love for which return is wanted. Someone described this sincere love as follows: "I do not want a bribe, recompense, return or reward for love, for love which requires a price in return is weak and short-lived." Sincere love has been included in human nature and in all mothers. The compassion of mothers manifests this sincere love in its true meaning. Evidence that through the mystery of this compassion mothers do not want or seek a reward or bribe in return for their love of their children, is their sacrificing their lives and even their eternal happiness for them. While all a hen's capital is its life, a hen sacrificed its own head in order to save its chick's head from the jaws of a dog-as Husrev witnessed.
 T h e F o u r t h M a t t e r 
 One should not receive bounties which arrive at the hands of apparent causes on account of the causes. If a cause does not possess will, like an animal or a tree for example, it gives the bounty directly on account of Almighty God. It says: "In the Name of God" through the tongue of disposition and gives it to you, so you too should say: "In the Name of God," and take it for God's sake. If the cause possesses will, he should say: "In the Name of God," then you should take it, otherwise you should not take it. For apart from the explicit meaning of the verse,
 Eat not of [meats] on which God's name has not been pronounced,15
 15. Qur'an, 6:121.
  1. 182

an implicit meaning is this: "Do not partake of bounties which do not recall the True Bestower of Bounties and are not given in His name."

 Since this is so, both the one who gives should say "In the name of God," and the one who receives should say, "In the name of God." If he does not say it, but you are in need, then you say, "In the Name of God," and seeing the hand of Divine mercy upon him, kiss it in thanks, and take the bounty from him. That is to say, look from the bounty to the bestowal, and from the bestowal think of the True Bestower. To think in this way is a sort of thanks. Then if you wish, offer a prayer for the apparent means, since it was by his hand that the bounty was sent to you.
 What deceives those who worship apparent causes is the two things coming together or being together, which is called 'association;' they suppose the two things cause one another. Also, since the non-existence of one thing is the cause of a bounty being non-existent, they suppose that the thing's existence is also the cause of the bounty's existence. They offer their thanks and gratitude to the thing and fall into error. For a bounty's existence results from all the bounty's conditions and preliminaries. Whereas the bounty's non-existence occurs through the non-existence of only a single condition.
 For example, someone who does not open the water canal to water a garden is the reason and cause of the garden drying up and the non-existence of bounties. But the existence of the garden's bounties is dependent on hundreds of conditions besides the man's duty and the bounties come into being through dominical will and power, which are the true cause. So understand just how clear is the error of this sophistry and how mistaken are those who worship causes!
 Yes, 'association' is one thing and the cause is another. You receive a bounty, but the intention of a person to bestow it on you was the 'associate' of the bounty, not the cause. The cause was Divine mercy. If the man had not intended to give you the bounty, you would not have received it and it would have been the cause of the bounty's non-existence. But as a consequence of the above rule, the desire to bestow cannot be the cause of the bounty; it can only be one of hundreds of conditions.
 For example, some of those among the Risale-i Nur students (like Husrev and Re'fet) who have received Almighty God's bounties have confused the 'association' and the cause, and have been over-grateful to their Master. However, Almighty God put together the bounty of benefiting from the Qur'anic instruction which He bestowed on them, and the bounty of instructing which He had bestowed on their Master; He
  1. 183

'associated' the two. They say: "If our Master had not come here, we would not have received this instruction, so his instruction is the cause of our benefiting." However, I say:

 "My Brothers! The bounties Almighty God bestowed on you and on me arrived together. The cause of both bounties is Divine mercy. Like you, I too at one time confused the association with the cause, and felt much gratitude towards the hundreds of Risale-i Nur students with diamond pens like yourselves. I would say: 'If it had not been for them, how could have a semi-literate unfortunate like myself have performed this service?' Then I understood that after bestowing on you the sacred bounty by means of the pen, He bestowed on me success in this service. He associated the two; they were not the cause of each other. I do not thank you, but congratulate you. And you too pray for me and congratulate me, rather than being grateful to me."
 It may be understood from this Fourth Matter just how many degrees there are in heedlessness.
 T h e F i f t h M a t t e r 
 Just as if the property of a community is given to one man, it is wrong; or if one man lays hands on charitable foundations which belong to the community, he does wrong; so too to ascribe to the leader or master of a community the results of that community's labours or the honour and merits resulting from its good works, is wrong-doing both for the community and for the leader or master. Because to do so flatters his egotism and encourages pride. While being the door-keeper, he supposes himself to be the king. He also does wrong to himself. Indeed, he opens the way to a sort of concealed associating partners with God.
 Indeed, the colonel cannot claim the booty, victory, and glory belonging to a regiment which conquers a citadel. The master and spiritual guide should not be considered to be the source and origin, but known to be the place of reflection and manifestation. For example, heat and light reach you by means of a mirror. If you forget the sun, and considering the mirror to be the source, are grateful to it instead of being grateful to the sun, it would be crazy. The mirror should be preserved because it is the place of manifestation. Thus, the guide's spirit and heart is a mirror; it is the place for reflecting effulgence emanating from Almighty God. He is the means of its being reflected to his followers. He should not be ascribed a higher station with regard to the effulgence than that of being the means. It sometimes even happens that a master considered to be the source is neither the place of manifestation nor the source. The follower supposes the effulgences he receives due to the purity of his sincerity, or his
  1. 184

strength of attachment, or his concentration on his master, or in other ways, to have come from the mirror of his master's spirit. Like by means of mesmerism, some people open up a window onto the World of Similitudes by gazing attentively at a mirror, and observe strange and wonderful things in the mirror. But it is not in the mirror; rather by focussing their attention on the mirror, a window opens up in their imaginations outside the mirror and they see those things. It is for this reason that sometimes the sincere student may be more advanced than a deficient shaykh. He returns, guides his shaykh and becomes the shaykh's shaykh.

 Fourteenth Note
 This consists of four short Signs alluding to Divine Unity.
 F i r s t S i g n 
 O worshipper of causes! You see a wondrous palace fashioned of rare jewels which is being made. Some of the jewels used in its construction are only found in China; others in Andalusia; others in Yemen; while others are found nowhere but Siberia. If you see that as it is being made, the precious stones are summoned the same day from north, south, east, and west, would you have any doubt that the master builder making the palace was a miracle-worker who ruled the whole earth?
 Thus, every animal is a Divine palace such as that. Particularly man, he is the finest and most wondrous of the palaces. Some of the jewels of this palace called man come from the World of Spirits, some from the World of Similitudes and the Preserved Tablet, and others from the world of the air, the world of Light, and the world of the elements. And so too he is a wondrous palace whose needs stretch to eternity, whose hopes have spread to all the regions of the heavens and the earth, and who has relations and ties with all the epochs of this world and the Hereafter. 
 And so, O you who considers himself to be a true man! Since your true nature is thus, the one who made you can only be One for Whom this world and the Hereafter are each a dwelling, the earth and the skies each a page, and Who has disposal over pre-eternity and post-eternity as though they were yesterday and tomorrow. In which case, man's true object of worship, place of recourse, and saviour can only be the One Who rules the earth and the heavens, and holds the reins of this world and the next.
 S e c o n d S i g n 
 There are certain foolish people who because they do not recognize the sun, if they see it in a mirror, start to love the mirror. With intense
  1. 185

emotion they try to preserve the mirror so that the sun within it will not be lost. Whenever the foolish person realizes that the sun does not die on the mirror's dying and is not lost on its being broken, he turns all his love to the sun in the sky. He understands then that the sun seen in the mirror is not dependent on the mirror, nor does its continued existence depend on it. It is rather the sun which holds the mirror, supplying its shining light. The sun's continuance is not dependent on the mirror, rather the continuance of the mirror's living brilliance is dependent on the sun's manifestation.

 O man! Your heart, identity, and nature are a mirror. The intense love of immortality in your nature and heart should be not for the mirror, nor for your heart and nature, but for the manifestation of the Enduring One of Glory, Whose manifestation is reflected in the mirror according to the mirror's capacity. However, due to stupidity that love of yours is directed to other places. Since it is thus, say: "O Enduring One! You are the Enduring One!" That is, "Since You exist and You are enduring, whatever transience and non-existence want to do to us, let them do it, it is of no importance!"
 T h i r d S i g n 
 O man! The strangest state the All-Wise Creator has included in your nature is that sometimes you cannot settle in the whole world; like someone suffocating in prison, you gasp for somewhere wider than the world. And yet you enter the minutest matter, a memory, a moment, and settle in it. Your heart and mind which cannot settle in the vast world settle in that jot. You wander about with your most intense emotions in that brief moment, that tiny memory.
 And He gave to your nature immaterial powers and subtle faculties that are such that if some of them devoured the world, they would not be satisfied; and some of them cannot sustain even a minute particle within themselves. Like the eye cannot bear a hair although the head can bear heavy stones, those faculties cannot bear the weight of even a hair, that is, some insignificant state arising from heedlessness and misguidance. They are sometimes even extinguished and die.
 Since it is thus, be careful, tread with caution, be frightened of sinking! Do not drown in a mouthful, a word, a seed, a flash, a sign, a kiss! Do not plunge your extensive faculties, which can swallow the world, in such a thing. For there are things which are very small that can in one respect swallow things which are very large. The sky together with its stars can enter a small fragment of glass and be drowned. And most of the pages of your actions and leaves of your life enter your faculty of
  1. 186

memory, tiny as a mustard-seed. So too there are tiny things which swallow things thus large, and contain them.

 F o u r t h S i g n 
 O world-worshipping man! Although you conceive of your world as very broad, it resembles a narrow grave. But since the walls of that narrow grave-like dwelling are of glass, they are reflected one within the other and stretch as far as the eye can see. While being narrow as a grave, your world appears to be as large as a town. For despite both the right wall, which is the past, and the left wall, which is the future, being non-existent, they are reflected one within the other, unfolding the wings of present time, which is extremely brief and narrow. Reality mixes with imagination, and you suppose a non-existent world to be existent.
 Like on being spun round at speed, a line appears to be broad like a surface, despite in reality being a fine line, your world too is in reality narrow, but due to your heedlessness, delusions, and imagination, its walls have drawn far apart. If driven by a calamity you stir in that narrow world, you will hit your head on the wall, which you supposed to be distant. It will dispel the illusions in your head and banish your sleep. Then you will see that that broad world of yours is narrower than the grave, finer than the Bridge of Sirat. Your life passes faster than lightening, it pours away more swiftly than tea.
 Fifteenth Note
 This consists of three Matters.
 T h e F i r s t M a t t e r 
 This is the verse
 And whoever has done an atom's weight of good shall see it, * And whoever has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it.16
 If you want proof of this truth of the All-Wise Qur'an, look at the pages of the book of the universe, which is written on the pattern of the Clear
 16. Qur'an, 99:7-8.
  1. 187

Book; you will see the maximum manifestation of the Divine Name of Preserver and many things similar in many ways to the supreme truth of this verse.

 For instance, take a handful of seeds of various trees, flowers, and plants. Then bury the seeds, which are like the small coffers of those all-different flowers, trees, and plants, and are themselves all different and various, in the darkness of simple and lifeless earth. Then water them with simple water, which lacks balance, cannot distinguish things, and runs wherever you pour it.
 Now come back in the spring, the arena of the annual resurrection, and look! Note carefully the time in the spring when the Israfil-like angel of thunder calls out to the rain as though sounding his trumpet, giving the good news of the breath of life being breathed into the seeds buried beneath the ground; you will see that under the manifestation of the Divine Name of Preserver, those seeds that resemble each other and are all mixed up and confused, conform perfectly and without error to the creative commands proceeding from the All-Wise Creator. They conform so exactly that in their growth a brilliant consciousness, insight, purpose, will, knowledge, perfection, and wisdom are apparent. For you see that those seeds which all resemble each other separate out and are distinguished from one another.
 For example, this tiny seed has become a fig-tree, it has started to spread the All-Wise Creator's bounties over our heads. It distributes them, stretching them out to us with its hands. And these two seeds which are superficially the same have produced the flowers called sun-flowers and pansies. They have adorned themselves for us. They smile in our faces, making us love them. And this sort of seed has produced fine fruits; they became shoots, then trees. Whetting our appetites with their delicious tastes, scents, and forms, they invite us to themselves. They sacrifice themselves for their customers so that they may rise from the level of vegetable life to that of animal life. 
 And so on, you can make further examples in the same way. The seeds developed in such a way that the single handful became like a garden filled with various trees and flowers. There was no fault, no error among them. They demonstrated the meaning of the verse,
 So turn your vision again; do you see any flaw?17
 Through the manifestation and bestowal of the Name of Preserver, each of the seeds preserves and shows without confusion or defect the legacy inherited from its parent and origins.
 17. Qur'an, 67:3.
  1. 188

Thus, this is a certain indication that the Preserver Who carries out this wondrous work will demonstrate the supreme manifestation of His preservation at the resurrection of the dead and Last Judgement.

 Yes, the manifestation of preservation that is faultless and without defect to this degree in insignificant, fleeting, transient states is a decisive proof that the actions, works, words, and good deeds and bad deeds of man, the holder of the Supreme Trust and God's vicegerent on earth-deeds which have an eternal effect and supreme importance-are precisely preserved and will be subject to account.
 Does man suppose he will be left to his own devices? God forbid! Man is destined for eternity, and for everlasting happiness and perpetual misery. He will be called to account for all his actions, small and great, many and few. He will receive either reward or punishment.
 And so, witnesses to the maximum manifestation of preservation and to the truth of the first-mentioned verse are beyond count or calculation. Those we have shown in this Matter are a mere drop from the ocean, an atom from a mountain.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.
 * * *


 This has been published in Sikke-i Tasdik-i Gaybî (The Ratifying Stamp of the Unseen) and in hand-duplicated editions of Lem'alar (The Flashes Collection).
 * * *
  1. 189


 On Frugality
 [This treatise is about frugality and contentment, and wastefulness and extravagance.]
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Eat and drink, but waste not by excess.1
 This verse gives most important and wise instruction in the form of categorically commanding frugality and clearly prohibiting wastefulness. The matter contains seven Points.
 The All-Compassionate Creator desires THANKS in return for the bounties He bestows on mankind, while wastefulness is contrary to thanks, and slights the bounty and causes loss. Frugality, however, shows respect for the bounty and is profitable. Yes, frugality is both a sort of thanks, and shows respect towards the Divine mercy manifested in the bounties, and most definitely is the cause of plenty. So too, like abstinence, it is health-giving for the body, and, since it saves a person from the degradation of what is in effect begging, is a cause of self-respect. It is also a powerful means of experiencing the pleasure to be found in bounties, and tasting that pleasure in bounties which apparently afford no pleasure. As for wastefulness, since it is opposed to these instances of wisdom, it has grave consequences.
 1. Qur'an, 7:31.
  1. 190
 The All-Wise Maker created the human body in the form of a wonderful palace and resembling a well-ordered city. The sense of taste in the mouth is like a door-keeper, and the nerves and blood vessels like telephone and telegraph wires; they are the means by which the sense of taste communicates with the stomach, which is at the centre of the body, and informs it of the food that enters the mouth. If the body and stomach has no use for it, it says: "Forbidden!", and expels it. And sometimes the food is harmful and bitter as well as not being beneficial for the body, and it spits it out immediately.
 Thus, since the sense of taste is a doorkeeper, from the point of view of administering the stomach and body, it is a master and a ruler. If the gifts arriving at the palace or city and those given to the palace's ruler are worth one hundred liras, only five liras' worth is appropriate for the doorkeeper in the form of a tip, lest he becomes conceited and is corrupted, then forgetting his duty he lets revolutionaries into the palace who will give him a bigger tip.
 So, as a consequence of this mystery we shall now imagine two mouthfuls. One consists of nutritious food like cheese and egg and costs forty para,2 and the other is of the choicest baklava and costs ten kurush. Before entering the mouth, there is no difference in these two mouthfuls with respect to the body, they are equal. And after passing down the throat, they are still equal in nourishing the body. Indeed, forty paras' worth of cheese sometimes is more nutritious. Only, in regard to pampering the sense of taste in the mouth, there is a half-minute difference. You can see from this what a meaningless and harmful waste it is to increase the cost from forty para to ten kurush for the sake of half a minute.
 Now, although the gift arriving for the palace's ruler is worth one lira, to give the doorkeeper a tip nine times bigger than his due will corrupt him. He will declare: "I am the ruler," and will allow to enter whoever gives him the biggest tip and most pleasure; he will cause a revolution and conflagration to break out. Then he will compel them to cry out: "Oh! Call the doctor and make him put out this fire in my stomach and bring down my temperature!"
 Thus, frugality and contentment are in conformity with Divine wisdom; they treat the sense of taste as a doorkeeper and give it its remuneration accordingly. As for wastefulness, since it is to act contrary to wisdom, it swiftly receives its punishment, upsets the stomach, and causes real appetite to be lost. Producing from the unnecessary variety of foods a false and artificial appetite, it causes indigestion and illness.
 2. There were forty para to a kurush, and a hundred kurush to a lira. (Tr.)
  1. 191
 We said in the Second Point that the sense of taste is a doorkeeper, and indeed, for the heedless and those who have not progressed spiritually nor advanced in the way of thanks, it is like a doorkeeper. Wastefulness should not be indulged in nor the sense of taste's price be raised from one to ten for the sake of giving it pleasure.
 However, the sense of taste of those truly on the way of thanks, those seeking reality, and those who approach it with their hearts is like a supervisor and inspector in the kitchens of Divine mercy-as is explained in the comparison in the Sixth Word. Its duty is to recognize and weigh up the varieties of Divine bounties on the tiny scales present in it to the number of foods, and to send the body and stomach news of the food in the form of thanks. In this respect the sense of taste does not only look to the physical stomach, rather, since it looks also to the heart, spirit, and mind, it has a position and importance superior to the stomach. On condition it is not wasteful or extravagant, and is purely to carry out its duty of thanks and recognize and perceive the varieties of Divine bounty, and on condition it is licit and does not lead to degradation and begging, it can follow its pleasure. In fact, delicious foods may be preferred in order to employ the tongue which bears the sense of taste in giving thanks. The following is an instance of Shaykh Geylani's wonder-working which alludes to this truth:
 At one time, being instructed by Ghawth al-A'zam, Shaykh Geylani (May his mystery be sanctified), was the only son of an aged and anxious woman. This esteemed lady had gone to her son's cell and seen that he had nothing to eat but a piece of dry, black bread. Her maternal compassion was aroused by his emaciated condition resulting from his asceticism. She felt sorry for him. Later she went to Ghawth al-A'zam in order to complain, and saw the Shaykh was tucking into roast chicken. Out of her concern, she said: "O Master! My son is dying of hunger while you are eating chicken!" Whereupon Ghawth al-A'zam said to the chicken: "Rise up, with God's permission!" At this, the cooked chicken bones assembled and were thrown out of the dish as an entire live chicken. This has been related unanimously through many reliable and documented channels as a marvel of someone whose extraordinary wonder-working is world-famous. Ghawth al-A'zam said to her: "When your son reaches this level, then he too can eat chicken." Thus, the meaning of Ghawth al-A'zam's words is this: whenever your son's spirit rules his body, and his heart rules the desires of his soul, and his reason rules his stomach, and he wants pleasure for the sake of offering thanks, then he may eat delicious things.
  1. 192
 According to the Hadith the meaning of which is: "He who is thrifty will not have family difficulties as regards livelihood,"3 the frugal and economical person will not suffer undue trouble and hardship in supporting his family.
 There are countless proofs that the consequence of frugality is plenty and good living. For instance, I have seen myself and I can say according to the testimony of those who have befriended and assisted me that through being frugal, I have sometimes seen a tenfold increase, and so have my friends. Even, nine years ago-and now it is thirty, a number of the tribal leaders who were exiled to Burdur together with me did their best to make me accept their zakat so that I would not suffer privation and humiliation through lack of money. I said to those rich leaders: "Although I have very little money, I am frugal and economical and I am accustomed to being content with little. I am richer than you." I refused their repeated and insistent offers. It is worth noting that two years later some of those who had offered me their zakat were in debt because they had not been frugal. Thanks be to God, seven years on from that, through the plenty resulting from frugality that small amount of money was still sufficient for me; it did not degrade me, nor compel me to present my needs to the people, nor make me deviate from my way of self-sufficiency and being independent of people, which is one of the principles of my life.
 Someone who is not frugal is certain to be abased and reduced to poverty and in effect to begging. At this time, money, the means of wastefulness and extravagance, is extremely expensive. Sometimes a person sells his honour and self-respect and bribes are taken to receive it. Sometimes the sacred things of religion are sold, then some inauspicious money received in return. That is to say, material goods worth ten kurush are received in return for an immaterial loss of one hundred lira.
 However, if a person is frugal and restricts and limits his needs to the essential, according to the implied meaning of the verse,
 Indeed, it is God Who gives all sustenance, Lord of all power and strength,4
 and the explicit meaning of the verse,
 And there is no moving creature on the earth but its sustenance is provided by God,5
 3. Musnad i, 447; al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir v, 454 no: 7939; al-Hindi, Kanzu'l-'Ummal iii, 36; vi, 49, 56, 57.
 4. Qur'an, 51:58.
 5. Qur'an, 11:6.
  1. 193

he will find enough sustenance to live on in unexpected ways. Because the verse guarantees it. Yes, there are two sorts of sustenance:

 One is true sustenance, which is enough to subsist on. As the verse decrees, this sustenance is guaranteed by the Sustainer. So long as man's inclination towards evil does not interfere, he will find this essential sustenance under any circumstances. He will not be compelled to sacrifice his religion, or his honour, or his self-respect.
 The second sort is metaphorical sustenance. With this, through abuse, inessential needs become like essential ones, and through the calamity of custom and tradition, people become addicted to them and cannot give them up. Since this sustenance is not guaranteed by the Sustainer, obtaining it is extremely expensive-and especially at this time. These unfruitful, inauspicious goods are obtained with first of all sacrificing the self-respect and accepting degradation, and sometimes stooping to what is in effect begging, kissing the feet of the vile, and sometimes sacrificing the sacred things of religion, which are the light of eternal life.
 Also, at this time of poverty and hardship, the distress those with consciences feel at the anguish of the hungry and needy sours any pleasure to be had from unlawfully acquired money. During strange times such as these, as far as doubtful goods are concerned, one has to make do with them to the minimum degree necessary. For according to the rule, "Necessity is determined according to its extent," when compelled to, illicit goods may be taken to the minimum degree necessary, not more. Someone in dire need may eat dead meat, but he may not fill his stomach with it. He may only eat enough not to die. Also, more cannot be eaten with unspoilt pleasure in the presence of a hundred people who are hungry.
 The following is a story showing that frugality is the cause of dignity and distinction:
 One time, Khatim Tay, who was world-famous for his generosity, was giving a large banquet. Having given his guests a superfluity of presents, he went out to walk in the desert. There he saw an old poor man who was carrying a load of thorny bushes and plants on his back. The thorns were piercing his skin and making him bleed. Khatim said to him: "Khatim Tay is giving a large banquet and giving away gifts. You go there and you will receive five hundred kurush in return for your load worth five kurush." The frugal old man replied: "I raise and carry this thorny load with my self-respect; I am not going to become obliged to Khatim Tay." Later, they asked Khatim Tay: "Have you come across anyone more generous and estimable than yourself?" He replied: "The frugal old man I met in the desert was more estimable, elevated, and generous than me."
  1. 194
 Out of His perfect generosity, Almighty God makes a poor man understand the pleasure of His bounty the same as a rich man, and a beggar the same as a king. Indeed, the pleasure a poor man obtains from a dry piece of black bread through hunger and being frugal is greater than the pleasure a king or a rich man obtains from the choicest baklava eaten with the weariness and lack of appetite resulting from excess.
 It is surprising but some dissolute and extravagant people accuse the frugal and economical of being "mean" and "stingy." God forbid! Frugality is dignity and generosity. Stinginess and meanness are the inner face of the apparently noble qualities of the wasteful and extravagant. There is an event corroborating this fact which occurred in my room in Isparta the year this treatise was written. It was as follows:
 One of my students insisted on my accepting-contrary to my rule and the principle of my life-a present of nearly two and a half okkas6 of honey. However much I stated my rule, he was not to be persuaded. Saying, with being economical let the three brothers with me eat the honey for thirty to forty days in the months of Sha'ban and Ramadan, and not be without something sweet to eat, and let the one who brought it earn the reward, I told them to take it. I myself had an okka of honey as well. Although my three friends were moderate and appreciated frugality, through offering the honey to each other, and each flattering the others' souls, and each preferring the others to himself, which in one respect is a good quality, they forgot about being economical. In three nights they finished the two and a half okkas of honey. Laughing, I said: "I would have given you the taste of that honey for thirty to forty days, and now you have reduced the thirty days to three. I hope you enjoyed it!" Whereas I used my one okka of honey frugally. For the wole of Sha'ban and Ramadan both I ate it, and, Praise be to God, I gave each of those brothers a spoonful,7 every evening while breaking the fast, and it became the means of signficant reward. Perhaps those who saw this conduct of mine thought it was stinginess and my brothers' conduct for three nights was generosity. But in point of fact I saw that concealed beneath the apparent stinginess lay an elevated dignity, increase and plenty, and great reward. If they had not stopped, it would have resulted in something much baser than stinginess beneath the generosity and excess, like beggarliness and watching another's hand greedily and expectantly.
 6 One okka equalled 2.8 lbs. (Tr.)
 7. That is, a fairly large teaspoon.
  1. 195
 There is a great difference between frugality and stinginess. Just as humility is a praiseworthy quality superficially resembling but different to the bad quality of servility, and dignity is a laudable virtue superficially similar to but different from the bad quality of haughtiness, so too frugality, which was one of the elevated qualities of the Prophet (PBUH) and indeed is one of the things on which the Divine wisdom in the order of the universe depends, bears no relation to stinginess, which is a mixture of baseness, avarice, miserliness, and greed. There is merely a superficial resemblance. The following is an event corroborating this fact:
 Abdullah b. Umar, who was one of the famous Companions of the Prophet known as 'the seven Abdullahs', was the greatest and most important of the sons of the Caliph Umar, Faruq al-A'zam, and one of the most distinguished and learned of the Companions. One day while shopping in the market, in order to be economical and to preserve the confidence and integrity on which trade depends, he disputed hotly over something worth a few kurush. One of the Companions saw him, and imagining the Illustrious Successor of the Prophet on Earth, the Caliph Umar's sons's wrangling over a few kurush to be an extraordinary stinginess, he followed him in order to understand his conduct. Next he saw that Abdullah was entering his blessed house and had spotted a poor man at the door. He chatted with him for a bit, and the man left. Then he came out of the second door of the house and saw another poor man. He chatted with him for a while too, and the man left. The Companion, who was watching from the distance, was curious. He went and asked the poor men: "Abdullah paused a while with you. What did he do?" Each of them replied: "He gave me a gold piece." "Glory be to God!," exclaimed the Companion, and thought to himself: "How is it that he wrangled like that over a few kurush in the market, then was completely happy to give away two hundred kurush in his house without letting anyone know?"
 He went to Abdullah b. Umar and said: "O Imam! Solve this difficulty for me! In the market you did that, while in your house you did this." Abdullah replied to him saying: "In the market it was not stinginess, but conduct arising from frugality; it was perfectly reasonable, and to preserve confidence and honesty, which are the basis and spirit of commerce. And the conduct in my house arose from the heart's compassion and the spirit's perfection. Neither was the first stinginess, nor the second immoderateness."
 Alluding to this, Imam Abu Hanifa said: "There can be no excess in good, just as there is no good in excess." That is to say, just as in good
  1. 196

works and benevolence there can no excess or wastefulness-so long as they are for the deserving, so too there is no good at all in wastefulness and immoderateness.

 Excess and wastefulness lead to greed, and greed has three consequences:
 The First is dissatisfaction. As for dissatisfaction, it destroys endeavour and enthusiasm for work, and causes the dissatisfied person to complain instead of giving thanks, and makes him lazy. Such a person abandons possessions which though few in number are licit,8 and seeks possessions which are illicit and free of trouble. And he sacrifices his self-respect on that way, and even his honour.
 The Second Consequence of Greed is disappointment and loss. The greedy person drives away what he wishes for, is found disagreeable, and is deprived of assistance and help. He even confirms the saying: "The greedy person is unsuccessful and suffers loss."
 Greed and contentment have their effects in the animal kingdom in accordance with a most extensive law. For instance, the natural contentment of trees needy for sustenance makes their sustenance hasten to them; this shows the huge benefits of contentment. While animals' running after their sustenance greedily and with difficulty and deficiency demonstrates the great loss of greed.
 Also, the contentment apparent through their tongues of disposition of all helpless young and a pleasant food like milk flowing out to them from an unexpected place, while wild animals greedily attack their deficient and dirty sustenance, prove our claim in clear fashion.
 Also, the contented attitude of fat fish being the means of their perfect sustenance, and intelligent animals like foxes and monkeys remaining puny and weak because they cannot find sufficient sustenance, although they pursue it with greed, again show to what a degree greed is the cause of hardship and contentment the cause of ease. 
 Also, the Jewish people finding through greed, usury, and trickery their degrading, miserable, illicit sustanance only at subsistence level, and the contented attitude of nomads and their living with dignity and finding sufficient sustenance, proves decisively what we say once more.
 8. Consumers increase and producers decrease as a result of wastefulness and lack of economy. Everyone fixes his eye on the government's door. Then industry, trade, and agriculture, on which social life depend, decrease. And the nation declines and is impoverished.
  1. 197
 Also, many scholars9 and literary figures10 being reduced to poverty because of the greed arising from their intelligence, and many stupid and incapable people becoming rich through their innate contentedness proves decisively that licit sustenance comes through impotence and want, not through ability and will. Indeed, licit sustenance is in inverse proportion to ability and will. For the more children increase in ability and will, the more their sustenance decreases, the further it is from them, and the more difficult to digest. According to the Hadith, "Contentment is an unfailing treasure," contentment is a treasury of good living and ease of life, while greed is a mine of loss and abasement.
 The Third Consequence: Greed destroys sincerity and damages actions in regard to the Hereafter. For if a God-fearing person suffers from greed, he will desire the regard of others. And someone who considers the regard of others cannot have complete sincerity. This consequence is extremely important and worth noticing.
 I n S h o r t : Excess and wastefulness lead to lack of contentment. And lack of contentment destroys enthusiasm for work; it causes laziness, opens the door to complaining about life, and makes the dissatisfied person complain continuously.11 Also, it destroys sincerity, and opens the door to hypocrisy. And it destroys self-respect, and points the way to begging.
 As for frugality and economy, these result in contentment. According to the Hadith, "The contented person is respected, and the greedy person despised," a consequence of contentment is self-esteem. Also, it encourages effort and work. It increases enthusiasm, and leads to work. For example, a person worked for one day. Because of his contentment with the petty wage he received in the evening, he worked again the second day. But because the wasteful and immoderate person was not content, he
 9. It was asked of Bozorgmehr, the Vazir of the Persian Shah Nushirvan the Just and scholar famous for his intelligence, "Why are the learned to be seen at the doors of rulers and rulers not to be seen at the doors of the learned, whereas learning is superior to rulership?" He replied: "Because of the knowledge of the learned and the ignorance of the rulers." That is to say, due to their ignorance, rulers do not know the value of learning so that they approach the doors of the learned to seek it. But because of their knowledge, the learned know the value of their rulers' goods and possessions and seek them at the rulers' doors. Explaining thus wittily the greed resulting from the cleverness of the learned, which causes some of them to be impecunious and in want, Bozorgmehr replied in a refined manner.
 Signed: Husrev
 10. An event corroborating this: in France, a beggar's licence was given to literary figures because they were so proficient at begging.
 Signed: Süleyman Rüshtü
 11. Indeed, whenever you meet a wasteful, immoderate person, you hear complaints. No matter how rich he is, his tongue still complains. But when you meet even the poorest, but contented, person, you hear only thanks.
  1. 198

did not work again the following day. Or if he did work, he did so without enthusiasm.

 Also, the contentment arising from frugality opens the door of thanks and closes the door of complaint. Throughout his life, the contented person is thankful. And in so far as he is independent of others through his contentment, he does not seek their regard. The door of sincerity is opened, the door of hypocrisy closed.
 I observed the fearsome harm of wastefulness and excess on a broad scale. It was as follows: nine years ago I visited a fortunate town. Since it was winter, I could not see its sources of wealth. Several times the town's Mufti, may God have mercy on him, said to me, "Our people are poor." These words touched me. For the following five or six years, I felt continual pity for the people of the town. Eight years later in the summer, I again visited it. I looked at the gardens and recalled the words of the late Mufti. "Glory be to God!", I said, "These gardens' crops are far greater than the needs of the town. Its people should be very rich." I was amazed. Then I understood through remembering a fact which has never deceived me and is my guide in understanding other truths, that the abundance and plenty had disappeared due to wastefulness and excess, so that although the town possessed such sources of wealth, the late Mufti used to say: "Our people are poor." 
 Indeed, just as giving zakat and being frugal and economical is proven by experience to be the cause of increase and plenty in goods and possessions, so too are there innumerable events showing that wastefulness and failure to give zakat cause increase and plenty to be taken away.
 The Plato of Islamic sages, the shaykh of physicians, and master of philosophers, the famous genius Abu Ali Ibn-i Sina explained the verse,
 Eat and drink, but waste not in excess12
 just from the point of view of medicine, as follows: "I concentrate the science of medicine in two lines, the best word is the shortest; when you eat, eat little, and do not eat again for four or five hours. Health lies in digestion. That is to say, eat so much as you can digest easily. The heaviest and most tiring thing for your stomach and yourself is to eat many things one on top of the other."13
 12. Qur'an, 7:31.
 13. That is to say, the most harmful thing for the body is to eat without having had a break of four to five hours, or to fill the stomach with a variety of foods one on top of the other just for the pleasure of it.
  1. 199

An Extraordinary and Instructive 'Coincidence':14 In all the copies of the Treatise on Frugality written by five or six scribes-three of whom were inexperienced, who were in different places far from one another, were writing it out from different copies, whose handwriting was all different, and who did not take the Alifs15 into consideration at all, the Alifs which 'coincided' numbered fifty-one, or 'with a prayer,' fifty-three. These numbers coinciding with the date the Treatise on Frugality was written and copied, which was [13]51 according to the Rumi calendar and [13]53 according to the Hijri calendar, undoubtedly cannot be chance. It is an indication that the blessing of plenty resulting from frugality has risen to the degree of wondrousness, and that this year is fit to be named 'Frugality Year.'

 Indeed, this wonder of frugality was proved two years later, during the Second World War, by the widespread hunger, destruction, and waste, and mankind and everyone being compelled to be frugal.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.16
 * * *
 14. 'Coincidence' (tawafuq): the correspondence of letters or words in lines or patterns on one or several pages. (Tr.)
 15. Alif: the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. (Tr.)
 16. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 200


 On Sincerity
 [While being the First of the Five Points which form the Second of the Seven Matters of the Seventeenth Flash, this became the Twentieth Flash because of its importance.]
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 The verse:
 Verily We sent the Book down to you in truth, so worship God in sincerity, for God's is sincerely practised religion,1
 and the noble saying of the Prophet:
 "All men will perish, except the scholars, and all scholars will perish except those who act in accordance with their knowledge, and all of them will perish except the sincere, and even the sincere are in great danger,"
 demonstrate together how important a principle of Islam is sincerity. From among the innumerable points concerning sincerity, we will briefly expound only five.
 Note: An auspicious sign of blessed Isparta which causes one to offer thanks is that compared with other places, there is no visible rivalry and dispute between the pious, those who follow the Sufi path, and the religious scholars. Even if the required true love and union is not present, comparatively speaking, there is no harmful rivalry and conflict.
 1. Qur'an, 39:2.
  1. 201
 A n I m p o r t a n t a n d A w e s o m e Q u e s t i o n : Why is it that while the worldly and the neglectful, and even the misguided and hypocrites, co-operate without rivalry, the people of religion, the religious scholars, and those who follow the Sufi path, oppose each other in rivalry, although they are the people of truth and concord? Agreement belongs in reality to the people of concord and dispute to the hypocrites; how is it that these two have changed places?
 T h e A n s w e r : We will set forth seven of the extremely numerous causes of this painful, disgraceful and awesome situation, one that causes the zealous to weep.
 Just as dispute among the people of the truth does not arise from lack of the truth, so too the agreement prevailing among the people of neglect does not arise from any possession of truth. Rather it is that a specific duty and particular function has been assigned to the classes in society, like 'the worldly', those engaged in politics, and those who have received a secular education, and thus the functions of the various groups, societies, and communities have been defined and become distinguished from one another. Similarly, the material reward they are to receive for their functions in order to maintain a livelihood, as well as the moral reward that consists in the attention they receive from men for the sake of their ambition and pride-this too is established and specified.2 There is therefore nothing held in common to the degree that it might produce conflict, dissension and rivalry. However evil be the path that they tread, they will be able to preserve unity and agreement. 
 But as for the people of religion, the scholars, and those who follow the path, the duty of each is concerned with all men; their material reward is not set and specified; and their share in social esteem and acceptance and public attention is not predetermined. Many may be candidates for the same position; many hands may stretch out for each moral and material reward that is offered. Hence it is that conflict and rivalry arise; concord is changed into discord, and agreement into dispute.
 2. Be aware that the attention of men cannot be demanded, but only given. If it is given, one should not delight in it. If one delights in it, sincerity is lost and hypocrisy takes its place. The attention of men, if accompanied by the desire for honour and fame, is not a reward and a prize, but a reproach and chastisement for lack of sincerity. Such attention of men, such honour and fame, harm sincerity, the source of vitality for all good deeds, and even though they yield a slight pleasure as far as the gate of the tomb, on the other side of that gate they take on the form of torment. One should not therefore desire the attention of men, but flee and shy away from it. Be warned, all you who worship fame and run after honour and rank!
  1. 202
 Now the cure and remedy for this appalling disease is sincerity. Sincerity may be attained by preferring the worship of God to the worship of one's own soul, by causing God's pleasure to vanquish the pleasure of the soul and the ego, and thus manifesting the meaning of the verse:
 Verily my reward is from God alone;3
 by renouncing the material and moral reward to be had from men4 and thus manifesting the meaning of the verse:
 Naught is incumbent on the Messenger but conveying the message;5
 and by knowing that such matters as goodly acceptance, and making a favourable impression, and gaining the attention of men are God's concern and a favour from Him, and that they play no part in conveying the message, which is one's own duty, nor are they necessary for it, nor is one charged with gaining them-by knowing this a person will be successful in gaining sincerity, otherwise it will vanish.
 The agreement among the poeple of misguidance is on account of their abasement, and the dispute among the people of guidance is on account of their dignity. That is to say that the people of neglect-those misguided ones sunk in worldly concerns-are weak and abased because they do not rely on truth and reality. On account of their abasement, they need to augment their strength, and because of this need they wholeheartedly embrace the aid and co-operation of others. Even though the path they follow is misguidance, they preserve their agreement. It is as if they were making their godlessness into a form of worship of the truth, their misguidance into a form of sincerity, their irreligion into a form of solidarity, and their hypocrisy into concord, and thus attaining success. For genuine sincerity, even for the sake of evil, cannot fail to yield results, and whatever man seeks with sincerity, God will grant him it.6
 3. Qur'an, 11:29.
 4. One should also take as one's guide the quality of preferring others to oneself, the same quality of the Companions that is praised in the Qur'an. For example, when giving a present or performing an act of charity, one should always prefer the recipient to oneself, and without demanding or inwardly desiring any material reward for religious service, know one's act to be purely God's grace and not impose a sense of obligation on men. Nothing worldly should be sought in return for religious service, for otherwise sincerity will be lost. Men have many rights and claims, and may even deserve zakat. But it cannot be demanded. When one receives something, it cannot be said that "This is the reward for my service." Rather in perfect contentment one should always prefer to oneself others who are more deserving. Thus manifesting the meaning of They prefer others to themselves, though poverty be their lot (Qur'an, 59:9), one may be saved from this terrible danger and gain sincerity.
 5. Qur'an, 5:99.
 6. Yes, "Whoever seeks earnestly shall find" is a rule of truth. Its scope is comprehensive and includes the matter under discussion..
  1. 203
 But as for the people of guidance and religion, the religious scholars and those who follow the Sufi path, since they rely upon truth and reality, and each of them on the road of truth thinks only of his Sustainer and trusts in His succour, they derive dignity from their belief. When they feel weakness, they turn not toward men, but toward God and seek help from Him. On account of difference in outlook, they feel no real need for the aid of the one whose outlook apparently opposes their own, and see no need for agreement and unity. Indeed, if obstinacy and egoism are present, one will imagine himself to be right and the other to be wrong; discord and rivalry take the place of concord and love. Thus sincerity is chased away and its function disrupted.
 Now the only remedy for the critical consequences of this awesome state consists of Nine Commands:
 1. To act positively, that is, out of love for one's own outlook, avoiding enmity for other outlooks, not criticizing them, interfering in their beliefs and sciences, or in any way concerning oneself with them.
 2. To unite within the fold of Islam, irrespective of particular outlook, remembering those numerous ties of unity that evoke love, brotherhood and concord.
 3. To adopt the just rule of conduct that the follower of any right outlook has the right to say, "My outlook is true, or the best," but not that "My outlook alone is true," or that "My outlook alone is good," thus implying the falsity or repugnance of all other outlooks.
 4. To consider that union with the people of truth is a cause of Divine succour and the high dignity of religion.
 5. To realize that the individual resistance of the most powerful person against the attacks through its genius of the mighty collective force of the people of misguidance and falsehood, which arises from their solidarity, will inevitably be defeated, and through the union of the people of truth, to create a joint and collective force also, in order to preserve justice and right in the face of that fearsome collective force of misguidance.
 6. In order to preserve truth from the assaults of falsehood,
 7. To abandon the self and its egoism,
 8. And give up the mistaken concept of self-pride,
 9. And cease from all insignificant feelings aroused by rivalry.
 If this ninefold rule is adhered to, sincerity will be preserved and its function perfectly performed.7
 7. It is even recorded in authentic traditions of the Prophet that at the end of time  the truly pious among the Christians will unite with the People of the Qur'an and fight their cpmmon enemy, irreligion. And at this time, too, the people of religion and truth need to unite sincerely not only with their own brothers and fellow  believers, but also with the truly pious and spiritual ones the Chiristians, temporarily from the discussion and debate of points of difference in order to combat yheir joint enemy-aggressive atheism.
  1. 204
 Disagreement among the people of truth does not arise from lack of zeal and aspiration, nor does union among the people of misguidance arise from loftiness of aspiration. That which impels the people of guidance to the misuse of their high aspiration and hence to disagreement and rivalry is the desire for heavenly reward that is counted as a praiseworthy quality in respect of the Hereafter, and extreme eagerness with respect to duties pertaining to the Hereafter. Thinking to oneself, "Let me gain this reward, let me guide these people, let them listen to me," he takes up a position of rivalry towards the true brother who faces him and who stands in real need of his love, assistance, brotherhood and aid. Saying to oneself, "Why are my pupils going to him? Why don't I have as many pupils as him?" he falls prey to egoism, inclines to the chronic disease of ambition, loses all sincerity, and opens the door to hypocrisy.
 The cure for this error, this wound, this awesome sickness of the spirit, is the principle that "God's pleasure is won by sincerity alone," and not by a large following or great success. For these latter are a function of God's will; they cannot be demanded, although they are sometimes given. Sometimes a single word will result in someone's salvation and hence the pleasure of God. Quantity should not receive too much attention, for sometimes to guide one man to the truth may be as pleasing to God as guiding a thousand. Moreover sincerity and adherence to the truth require that one should desire the Muslims to benefit from anyone and at any place they can. To think "Let them take lessons from me so that I gain the reward" is a trick of the soul and the ego.
 O man greedy for reward in the Hereafter and the performance of deeds entitling you to that reward! There have been certain prophets who had only a limited following but received the infinite reward of the sacred duty of prophethood. The true achievement lies, then, not in gaining a vast following, but in gaining God's pleasure. What do you imagine yourself to be, that saying, "Let everyone listen to me," you forget your function, and interfere in what is strictly God's concern? To gain acceptance for you and to have people gather round you is God's concern. So look to your own duty and concern, and do not meddle with God's concerns.
 Moreover, it is not only men who earn reward for those who hear and speak the truth. The sentient and spiritual beings of God and His angels
  1. 205

have filled the universe and adorned its every part. If you want plentiful reward, take sincerity as your foundation and think only of God's pleasure. Then every syllable of the blessed words that issue forth from your mouth will be brought to life by your sincerity and truthful intention, and going to the ears of innumerable sentient beings, they will illumine them and earn you reward. For when, for example, you say, "Praise and thanks be to God," millions of these words, great and small, are written on the page of the air by God's leave. Since the All-Wise Inscriber did nothing prodigally or in vain, He created innumerable ears, as many as were needed to hear those multiple blessed words. If those words are brought to life in the air by sincerity and truthful intent, they will enter the ears of the spirit beings like some tasty fruit in the mouth. But if God's pleasure and sincerity do not bring those words to life, they will not be heard, and reward will be had only for the single utterance made by the mouth. Pay good attention to this, you Qur'an reciters who are sad that your voices are not more beautiful and that more people do not listen to you!

 In just the same way that rivalry and disagreement among the people of guidance do not arise from failure to foresee consequences or from shortsightedness, so too wholehearted agreement among the people of misguidance does not result from farsightedness or loftiness of vision. Rather the people of guidance, through the influence of truth and reality, do not succumb to the blind emotions of the soul, and follow instead the farsighted inclinations of the heart and the intellect. Since, however, they fail to preserve their sense of direction and their sincerity, they are unable to maintain their high station and fall into dispute. 
 As for the people of misguidance, under the influence of the soul and caprice, and the dominance of sense-perception, which is blind to all consequences and always prefers an ounce of immediate pleasure to a ton of future pleasure, they come together in eager concord for the sake of instant benefit and immediate pleasure. Indeed, lowly and heartless worshippers of the ego are bound to congregate around worldly and immediate pleasures and benefits. It is true that the people of guidance have set their faces to the rewards of the Hereafter and its perfections, in accordance with the lofty instructions of the heart and the intellect, but even though a proper sense of direction, a complete sincerity and self-sacrificing union and concord are possible, because they have failed to rid themselves of egoism, and on account of deficiency and excess, they lose their union, that lofty source of power, and permit their sincerity to be shattered. Their duty in regard to the Hereafter is also harmed. God's pleasure is not had easily.
  1. 206
 The cure and remedy for this serious disease is to be proud of the company of all those travelling the path of truth, in accordance with the principle of love for God's sake; to follow them and defer leadership to them; and to consider whoever is walking on God's path to be probably better than oneself, thereby breaking the ego and regaining sincerity. Salvation is also to be had from that disease by knowing that an ounce of deeds performed in sincerity is preferable to a ton performed without sincerity, and by preferring the status of a follower to that of a leader, with all the danger and responsibility that it involves. Thus sincerity is to be had, and one's duties of preparation for the Hereafter may be correctly performed.
 Dispute and disagreement among the people of guidance are not the result of weakness, and the powerful union of the people of misguidance is not the result of strength. Rather the lack of union of the people of guidance comes from the power that results from the support provided by perfect belief, and the union of the people of neglect and misguidance comes from the weakness and impotence they experience as a result of their lack of any inward support. The weak form powerful unions precisely because of their need for union.8 Since the strong do not feel a similar need, their unions are weak. Lions do not need union like foxes and therefore live as individuals, whereas wild goats form a herd to protect themselves against wolves. The community and collective personality of the weak is strong, and the community and collective personality of the strong is weak. There is a subtle allusion to this in the Qur'an in the words, "And women in the city said,"9 the verb "said" being in the masculine form, although it should be feminine for two reasons [women is a feminine noun, and also a plural-so-called 'broken' plurals in Arabic are always regarded as feminine]. But by contrast see the words, "the desert Arabs said,"10 the verb said in this case being in the feminine, even though its subject designates a community of men. Herein lies an indication, that an association of weak, meek and soft women gains strength, toughness and force, and even acquires a certain kind of virility. The use of the masculine form of the verb is therefore most appropriate. Strong men, by contrast, and in particular Beduin Arabs, trust in their own strength; therefore their associations are weak, for they assume a stance
 8. Among the most powerful and effective organizations in the West is the American Organization for Women's Rights and Liberty, even though women are called the fair sex, and are weak and delicate. Similarly, the organization of the Armenians, despite their weakness and small numbers when compared to other peoples, with its strong, self-sacrificing behaviour, provides another proof of our observation.
 9. Qur'an, 12:30.
 10. Qur'an, 49:14.
  1. 207

of softness and caution and take on a kind of femininity, for which the use of the feminine form of the verb is most suitable. Similarly the people of truth submit to and place their reliance in the firm source of support that is belief in God; hence they do not present their needs to others or request aid and assistance from them. If they do sometimes make the request, they will not adhere to the persons concerned at all cost. But the worldly ignore in their worldly affairs the true source of support; they fall into weakness and impotence, and experiencing an acute need of assistance, come together sacrificing themselves wholeheartedly.

 The people of truth do not recognize and seek the true strength that is to be found in union; hence they fall into dispute, as an evil and harmful consequence of this failure. By contrast, the people of misguidance and falsehood perceive the strength to be found in union, by virtue of their very weakness, and thus acquire union, that most important means for the attainment of all goals.
 The cure and remedy for this disease of discord among the people of truth is to make one's rule of conduct the Divine prohibition contained in this verse:
 Do not fall into dispute, lest you lose heart and your power depart,11
 and the wise Divine command for social life contained in this verse:
 Work together for the sake of virtue and piety.12
 One must further realize how harmful to Islam dispute is, and how it helps the people of misguidance to triumph over the people of truth, and then, wholeheartedly and self-sacrificingly, join the caravan of the people of truth, with a sense of his own utter weakness and impotence. Finally, one must forget his own person, abandon hypocrisy and pretension, and lay hold of sincerity.
 Discord among the people of truth does not arise from lack of manliness, aspiration and zeal; similarly, the wholehearted union among the misguided, neglectful and worldly with respect to their worldly affairs does not result from manliness, aspiration and zeal. It is rather that the people of truth are generally concerned with benefits to be had in the Hereafter and hence direct their zeal, aspiration and manliness to those important and numerous matters. Since they do not devote time-the true capital of man-to a single concern, their union with their fellows can
 11. Qur'an, 8:46.
 12. Qur'an, 5:3.
  1. 208

never become firm. Their concerns are numerous and of a wide scope. As for the neglectful and worldly, they think only of the life of this world, and they firmly embrace the concerns of the life of this world with all their senses, their spirit and heart, and cling firmly to whoever aids them in those concerns. Like a mad diamond merchant who gives an exorbitant price for a piece of glass worth virtually nothing, they devote time, which is of the highest value, to matters which in reality and in the view of the people of truth are worth nothing. Paying such a high price and offering oneself with the devotion of all the senses will naturally result in a wholehearted sincerity that yields success in the matter at hand, so that the people of truth are defeated. As a result of this defeat, the people of truth decline into a state of abasement, humiliation, hypocrisy and ostentation, and sincerity is lost. Thus the people of truth are obliged to flatter and cringe before a handful of vile and lowly men of the world.

 O people of truth! O people of the law, people of reality and people of the path, all worshipping God! Confronted by this awesome disease of discord, overlook each other's faults, close your eyes to each other's shortcomings! Behave according to the rule of courtesy established by the criterion that is the Qur'an in the verse:
 When they pass by error, they pass by it with honourable avoidance.13
 Regard it as your primary duty-one on which your state in the Hereafter depends-to abandon internal dissension when attacked by an enemy from the outside, and thereby to deliver the people of truth from their abasement and humiliation! Practise the brotherhood, love and co-operation insistently enjoined by hundreds of Qur'anic verses and traditions of the Prophet! Establish with all of your powers a union with your fellows and brothers in religion that is stronger than the union of the worldly! Do not fall into dispute! Do not say to yourself, "Instead of spending my valuable time on such petty matters, let me spend it on more valuable things such as the invocation of God and meditation;" then withdrawing and weakening unity. For precisely what you imagine to be a matter of slight importance in this moral jihad may in fact be very great. In just the same way that under certain special and unusual conditions the watch kept for one hour by a soldier may be equal to a whole year's worship, in this age when the people of truth have been defeated, the precious day that you spend on some apparently minor matter concerning the moral struggle may be worth a thousand days, just like the hour of that soldier. Whatever is undertaken for the sake of God cannot be divided
 13. Qur'an, 25:72.
  1. 209

into small and great, valuable and valueless. An atom expended in sincerity and for the sake of God's pleasure becomes like a star. What is important is not the nature of the means employed, but the result that it yields. As long as the result is God's pleasure and the substance employed is sincerity, any means to which recourse is had will be great, not small.

 Dispute and rivalry among the people of truth do not arise from jealousy and greed for the world, and conversely union among the worldly and neglectful does not arise from generosity and magnanimity. It is rather that the people of truth are unable to preserve fully the magnanimity and high aspiration that proceed from the truth, or the laudable form of competition that exists on God's path. Infiltrated by the unworthy, they partially misuse that laudable form of competition and fall into rivalry and dispute, causing grave harm both to themselves and to the Islamic Community. As for the people of neglect and misguidance, in order not to lose the benefits with which they are infatuated and not to offend the leaders and companions they worship for the sake of benefit, in their utter humiliation, abasement and lack of manliness, they practise union at all costs with their companions, however abominable, treacherous and harmful they be, and wholeheartedly agree with their partners in whatever form may be dictated by their common interest. As a result of this wholeheartedness, they indeed attain the benefits desired.
 So O people of truth given to dispute and afflicted with disaster! It is through your loss of sincerity and your failure to make God's pleasure your sole aim in this age of disaster that you have caused the people of truth to undergo this humiliation and defeat. In matters relating to religion and the Hereafter there should be no rivalry, envy or jealousy; indeed there can be none of these in truth. The reason for envy and jealousy is that when several hands reach out after a single object, when several eyes are fixed on a single position, when several stomachs hunger for a single loaf of bread, first envy arises as a result of conflict, dispute and rivalry, and then jealousy. Since many people desire the same thing in the world, and because the world, narrow and transitory as it is, cannot satisfy the limitless desires of man, people become rivals of each other. However, in the Hereafter a five-hundred-year paradise will be given to a single individual; seventy thousand palaces and houris will be granted to him; and every one of the people of Paradise will be perfectly satisfied with his share.14 It is thus clear that there is no cause for rivalry in the Hereafter, nor can there be rivalry. In that case, neither should there be any rivalry
 14. An important question raised by a significant person: According to tradition  a five-hundred-year paradise will be given to everyone in Paradise. How can worldly intelligence comprehend this truth?
  1. 210

with respect to those good deeds that entail reward in the Hereafter; there is no room for jealousy here. The one jealous here is either a hypocrite, seeking worldly result through the performance of good deeds, or a sincere but ignorant devotee, not knowing the true purpose of good deeds and not comprehending that sincerity is the spirit and foundation of all good deeds. By cultivating a kind of rivalry and hostility toward God's saints, he is in fact placing in doubt the breadth of God's compassion.

 An instance supporting this truth: One of my former companions nurtured hostility to someone. His enemy's good deeds and sanctity were once favourably described in his presence. He was not jealous or upset. Then someone said, "That enemy of yours is courageous and strong." We saw a strong vein of jealousy and rivalry suddenly appearing in that man. We said to him:
 "Sanctity and righteousness bestow a strength and exaltation like a jewel of eternal life, yet you were not jealous of them. Now worldly strength is to be found in oxen, and courage in wild beasts; in comparison with sanctity and righteousness they are like a piece of glass compared to a diamond."
 The man replied:
 "We have both fixed our eyes in this world on a single object. The steps that lead to it are provided by things such as courage and strength. It is for this reason that I was jealous of him. The objects and stations of the Hereafter are without number. Although he is my enemy here, there he can be my beloved and intimate brother."
 The Answer: In this world everyone has his private and temporally limited world as broad as the world, the pillar of which is his life. He makes use of his world through his inner and outer senses. He says to himself, "The sun is my lamp, the stars are my candles." The existence of other creatures and animate beings in no way negates his ownership of these; on the contrary, they brighten and illumine his world. In the same way, although on an infinitely higher plane, in addition to the garden of each believer that contains thousands of palaces and houris, there is a private five-hundred-year paradise for everyone, apart from the general Paradise. He will benefit from this paradise and eternity through his senses and feelings, according to the degree of development they have reached. The fact that others share in the general Paradise in no way harms his ownership or benefit, but on the contrary strengthens these, and adorns that vast Paradise. Man in this world benefits from a garden lasting an hour, a spectacle lasting a day, a country lasting a month and a journey lasting a year, with his mouth, his ear, his eye, his taste and all his other senses. So too, in that realm of eternity, his sense of smell and touch, which in this transient world barely profit from a garden lasting an hour, will benefit as if from a garden lasting a year. The sense of sight and hearing which here barely profit from an excursion lasting a year, will there be able to benefit from a five-hundred-year excursion in a manner fitting that realm, adorned from end to end. Every believer will benefit there according to his spiritual rank, and gain delight and pleasure through his senses that will expand and develop in relation to the reward he has earned in this world and the good deeds he has performed
  1. 211

O people of the truth and the path! The service of the truth is like carrying and preserving a great and weighty treasure. Those who carry that trust on their shoulders will be happy and grateful whenever powerful hands rush to their aid. Far from being jealous, one should proudly applaud the superior strength, effectiveness and capacity of those who in upright love come forward to offer their help. Why then look on true brothers and self-sacrificing helpers in a spirit of rivalry, thus losing sincerity? You will be exposed to fearsome accusations in the eyes of the people of misguidance, such as pursuing worldly interest through religion, even though it is something a hundred times lower than you and your belief, earning your livelihood through the knowledge of truth and rivalling others in greed and acquisitiveness.

 The sole remedy for this disease is to accuse your own soul before others raise these charges, and always to take the side of your fellow, not your own soul. The rule of truth and equity established by the scholars of the art of debate is this: "Whoever desires, in debate on any subject, that his own word should turn out to be true, whoever is happy that he turns out to be right and his enemy to be wrong and mistaken-such a person has acted unjustly." Not only that, such a person loses, for when he emerges the victor in such a debate, he has not learned anything previously unknown to him, and his probable pride will cause him loss. But if his adversary turns out to be right, he will have learned something previously unknown to him and thereby gained something without any loss, as well as being saved from pride. In other words, one fair in his dealings and enamoured of the truth will subject the desire of his own soul to the demands of the truth. If he sees his adversary to be right, he will accept it willingly and support it happily.
 If then the people of religion, the people of truth, the people of the path, and the people of learning take this principle as their guide, they will attain sincerity, and be successful in those duties that prepare them for the Hereafter. Through God's mercy, they will be delivered from this appalling wretchedness and misfortune from which they presently suffer.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All Wise. 
 * * *
  1. 212


 On Sincerity
 [Although originally the Fourth of the Seven Matters of the Seventeenth Note of the Seventeenth Flash, because of its connection with sincerity, it became the Second Point of the Twentieth Flash. Finally, due to its luminous character, it was included in the Flashes as the Twenty-First Flash.]
 This Flash should be read at least once a fortnight
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Do not fall into dispute, lest you lose heart and your power depart.1 * And stand before God in a devout [frame of mind].2 * Truly he succeeds that purifies it, * And he fails that corrupts it.3 * Nor sell my signs for a small price.4 
 O my brothers of the Hereafter! And O my companions in the service of the Qur'an! You should know-and you do know-that in this world sincerity is the most important principle in works pertaining to the Hereafter in particular; it is the greatest strength, and the most acceptable intercessor, and the firmest point of support, and the shortest way to reality, and the most acceptable prayer, and the most wondrous means of achieving one's goal, and the highest quality, and the purest worship. Since in sincerity lies much strength and many lights like those mentioned above; and since at this dreadful time, despite our few number
 1. Qur'an, 8:46.
 2. Qur'an, 2:238.
 3. Qur'an, 91:9-10.
 4. Qur'an, 2:41 etc.
  1. 213

and weak, impoverished, and powerless state and our being confronted by terrible enemies and suffering severe oppression in the midst of aggressive innovations and misguidance, an extremely heavy, important, general, and sacred duty of serving belief and the Qur'an has been placed on our shoulders by Divine grace, we are certainly compelled more than anyone to work with all our strength to gain sincerity. We are in utter need of instilling sincerity in ourselves. Otherwise what we have achieved so far in our sacred service will in part be lost, and will not persist; and we shall be held responsible. We shall manifest the severe threat contained in the Divine prohibition,

 Nor sell my signs for a small price,5
 and destroy sincerity, thus harming eternal happiness for the sake of meaningless, unnecessary, harmful, sad, self-centred, tedious, hypocritical base feelings and insignificant benefits. And in so doing we would violate all our brothers' rights, transgress against the duty of service to the Qur'an, and be disrespectful towards the sacredness of the truths of belief.
 My brothers! There are many obstacles before great works of good. Satans put up a powerful struggle against those who assist those works. One has to rely on the strength of sincerity in the face of these obstacles and satans. You should avoid things which harm sincerity the same as you avoid snakes and scorpions. In accordance with the words of Joseph (Upon whom be peace),
 Nor do I absolve my own self [of blame]; the [human] soul is certainly prone to evil, unless my Sustainer do bestow His mercy,6
 the evil-commanding soul should not be relied on. Do not let egotism and the soul deceive you! You should take as your guide the following rules, in order to gain sincerity and preserve it:
 You should seek Divine pleasure in your actions. If Almighty God is pleased, it is of no importance even should the whole world be displeased. If He accepts an action and everyone else rejects it, it has no effect. Once His pleasure has been gained and He has accepted an action, even if you do not ask it of Him, should He wish it and His wisdom requires it, He will make others accept it. He will make them consent to it too. For this reason, the sole aim in this service should be the direct seeking of Divine pleasure.
 5. Qur'an, 2:41, etc.
 6. Qur'an, 12:53.
  1. 214
 This is not to criticize your brothers who are employed in this service of the Qur'an, and not to excite their envy by displaying superior virtues. For just as one of man's hands cannot compete with the other, neither can one of his eyes criticize the other, nor his tongue object to his ear, nor his heart see his spirit's faults. Each of his members completes the deficiencies of the others, veils their faults, assists their needs, and helps them out in their duties. Otherwise man's life would be extinguished, his spirit flee, and his body be dispersed.
 Similarly, the components of machinery in a factory cannot compete with one another in rivalry, take precedence over each other, or dominate each other. They cannot spy out one another's faults and criticize each other, destroy the other's eagerness for work, and cause them to become idle. They rather assist each other's motions with all their capacity in order to achieve the common goal; they march towards the aim of their creation in true solidarity and unity. Should even the slightest aggression or desire to dominate interfere, it would throw the factory into confusion, causing it to be without product or result. Then the factory's owner would demolish the factory entirely.
 And so, O Risale-i Nur students and servants of the Qur'an! You and I are members of a collective personality such as that, worthy of the title of 'perfect man.' We are like the components of a factory's machinery which produces eternal happiness within eternal life. We are hands working on a dominical boat which will disembark the Community of Muhammad (PBUH) at the Realm of Peace, the shore of salvation. So we are surely in need of solidarity and true union, obtained through gaining sincerity-for the mystery of sincerity secures through four individuals the moral strength of one thousand one hundred and eleven-indeed, we are compelled to obtain it.
 Yes, if three alifs do not unite, they have the value of three. Whereas if they do unite, through the mystery of numbers they acquire the value of one hundred and eleven. If four times four remain apart, they have a value of sixteen. But if, through the mystery of brotherhood and having a common goal and joint duty, they unite coming together shoulder to shoulder on a line, they have the strength and value of four thousand four hundred and forty-four. Just as numerous historical events testify that the moral strength and value of sixteen self-sacrificing brothers have been greater than that of four thousand. 
 The underlying reason for this mystery is this: each member of a true and sincere union may see also with the eyes of the other brothers, and
  1. 215

hear with their ears. As if each person of a true union of ten has the value and strength of seeing with twenty eyes, thinking with ten minds, hearing with twenty ears, and working with twenty hands.7

 You should know that all your strength lies in sincerity and truth. Yes, strength lies in truth and sincerity. Even those who are wrong gain strength from their sincerity in their wrongdoing.
 Evidence that strength lies in truth and sincerity is this service of ours. A small amount of sincerity in our work proves this claim and is evidence for itself. Because seven or eight years of service to learning and religion here has surpassed a hundredfold the twenty years of service I performed in my native region and in Istanbul. And in my own region and in Istanbul those assisting me were a hundred or even a thousand times more numerous than my brothers who work together with me here, where I am alone, with no one, a stranger, semi-literate, under the surveillance of unfair officials and persecuted by them. I have absolutely no doubt that the service I have carried out with you these seven or eight years and the moral strength which has resulted in success a hundred times greater than formerly, has resulted from the sincerity you have. I have also to confess that through your heartfelt sincerity, you have saved me to an extent from the hypocrisy which used to flatter my soul under the veil of fame and renown. God willing, you will be successful in gaining absolute sincerity, and you will cause me to gain it too.
 You should be aware that Hadhrat Ali (May God be pleased with him) and Ghawth al-A'zam (May his mystery be sanctified) honour you with their miraculous wonder-working and wondrous vision of the Unseen because of this mystery of sincerity. They offer you consolation in protecting manner and applaud your service. Yes, you should have no doubt that this attention of theirs is because of sincerity. If you knowingly harm this sincerity, it is from them that you will receive punishment. You should bear in mind 'the blows of compassion' in the Tenth Flash.
 If you want to have the support of spiritual heroes such as those behind you, and have them as masters at your head, gain complete sincerity in accordance with the verse,
 7. Yes, heartfelt solidarity and union through the mystery of sincerity are the means to innumerable benefits, and so too are they an effective shield and point of support against fear, and even death. For if death comes, it takes one spirit. But since through the mystery of true brotherhood on the way of Divine pleasure in works connected with the Hereafter there are spirits to the number of brothers, if one of them dies, he meets death happily, saying: "My other spirits remain alive, for they in effect make life continue for me by constantly gaining reward for me, so I am not dying. By means of their spirits, I live in respect of merit; I am only dying in respect of sin." And he lays down in peace.
  1. 216

But give them preference over themselves.8

 Choose your brothers' souls to your own soul in honour, rank, acclaim, in the things your soul enjoys like material benefits. Even in the most innocent, harmless benefits like informing a needy believer about one of the subtle, fine truths of belief. If possible, encourage one of your companions who does not want to, to inform him, so that your soul does not become conceited. If you have a desire like "Let me tell him this pleasant matter so I'll gain the reward," it surely is not a sin and there is no harm in it, but the meaning of sincerity between you could be damaged.
 This is to imagine your brothers' virtues and merits in your own selves, and to thankfully take pride at their glory. The Sufis have terms they use among themselves, "annihilation in the shaykh," "annihilation in the Prophet;" I am not a Sufi, but these principles of theirs make a good rule in our way, in the form of "annihilation in the brothers." Among brothers this is called "tafânî;" that is, "annihilation in one another." That is to say, to forget the feelings of one's own carnal soul, and live in one's mind with one's brothers' virtues and feelings. In any event, the basis of our way is brotherhood. It is not the means which is between father and son, or shaykh and follower. It is the means of true brotherhood. At the very most a Master [Ustad] intervenes. Our way is the closest friendship. This friendship necessitates being the closest friend, the most sacrificing companion, the most appreciative comrade, the noblest brother. The essence of this friendship is true sincerity
  1. 217
 and realize that this world is transient, and so be saved from the tricks of the soul. Yes, through the instruction the Sufis and people of truth received from verses of the All-Wise Qur'an like,
 Every soul shall taste death.9 * Truly you will die [one day], and truly they [too] will die [one day],10
 they made the contemplation of death fundamental to their spiritual journeyings, and dispelled the illusion of eternity, the source of worldly ambition. They imagined and conceived of themselves as dead and being placed in the grave. Through prolonged thought the evil-commanding soul becomes saddened and affected by such imagining and to an extent gives up its far-reaching ambitions and hopes. There are numerous advantages in this contemplation. The Hadith the meaning of which is, "Frequently mention death which dispels pleasure and makes it bitter"11 teaches this contemplation.
 However, since our way is not the Sufi path but the way of reality, we are not compelled to perform this contemplation in an imaginary and hypothetical form like the Sufis. To do so is anyway not in conformity with the way of reality. Our way is not to bring the future to the present by thinking of the end, but to go in the mind to the future from the present in respect of reality, and to gaze on it. Yes, having no need of imagination or conception, one may look on one's own corpse, the single fruit on the tree of this brief life. In this way, one may look on one's own death, and if one goes a bit further, one can see the death of this century, and going further still, observe the death of this world, opening up the way to complete sincerity.
 T h e S e c o n d M e a n s : Attaining a sense of the Divine presence through the strength of certain, verified belief and through the lights proceeding from reflective thought on creatures which leads to knowledge of the Maker; thinking that the Compassionate Creator is all-present and seeing; not seeking the attention of any other than He, and realizing that looking to others in His presence or seeking help from them is contrary to right conduct in His presence; one may be saved from such hypocrisy and gain sincerity. However, there are many degrees and stages in this. However much a person may profit from his share, it is profit. Numerous truths are mentioned in the Risale-i Nur which will save a person from hypocrisy and gain him sincerity, so referring him to those, we cut short the discussion here.
 9. Qur'an, 3:185.
 10. Qur'an, 39:30.
 11. Tirmidhi, Zuhd 4; Qiyama 26; Nasa'i, Jana'iz 3; Ibn Maja, Zuhd 31; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak iv, 321.
  1. 218

Of the truly numerous things that destroy sincerity and drive one to hypocrisy, we shall briefly explain two or three.

 The First: Rivalry in regard to material advantages slowly destroys sincerity. It is also detrimental to the results of our service. So too it causes the material benefits to be lost. This nation has always nurtured respect for those who work for reality and the Hereafter, and assisted them. With the intention of actively sharing in their genuine sincerity and in the works they carry out devotedly, it has always showed respect by assisting them with material benefits like alms and gifts so that they should not become preoccupied with securing their material needs and wasting their time. But this assistance and benefit may not be sought; it is given. It may not even be sought through the tongue of disposition by desiring it with the heart or expecting it. It should rather be given when unexpected, otherwise sincerity will be harmed. It also approaches the prohibition of the verse,
 Nor sell my signs for a small price.12
 and in part destroys the action.
 Thus, first desiring and expecting such a material benefit, then so as not to allow it to go to someone else, the evil-commanding soul selfishly excites a feeling of rivalry towards a true brother and companion in that particular service. Sincerity is damaged, and the sacredness of the service is lost, and the person becomes disagreeable in the eyes of the people of reality. He also loses the material benefit. This subject bears much discussion. However, I shall cut it short and only mention two examples which will strengthen sincerity and true union between my true brothers.
 First Example: 'The worldly,' and even certain politicians and secret societies and manipulators of society, have taken as their guide the principle of shared property, in order to obtain great wealth and power. They acquire an extraordinary strength and advantage, despite all their exploitation and losses. However, the nature of common property does not change with sharing, despite its many harms. Although each partner is as though the owner and supervisor of the rest in one respect, he cannot profit from this.
 Nevertheless, if this principle of shared property is applied to works pertaining to the Hereafter, it accumulates vast benefits which produce no loss. For it means that all the property passes to the hands of each partner. For example, there are four or five men. With the idea of sharing, one of them brings paraffin, another a wick, another the lamp, another the mantle,
 12. Qur'an, 2:41, etc.
  1. 219

and the fifth matches; they assemble the lamp and light it. Each of them becomes the owner of a complete lamp. If each of those partners has a full-length mirror on a wall, he will be reflected in it together with the lamp and room, without deficiency or being split up.

 It is exactly the same with mutual participation in the goods of the Hereafter through the mystery of sincerity, and co-operation through the mystery of brotherhood, and joint enterprise through the mystery of unity-the total obtained through those joint acts, and all the light, enters the book of good deeds of each of those taking part. This is a fact and has been witnessed by the people of reality. It is also required by the breadth of Divine mercy and munificence.
 And so, my brothers, God willing, material benefits will not provoke rivalry among you. It is possible that you might be deceived in regard to the benefits of the Hereafter like some of those who follow the Sufi path. But how can some personal, minor merit be compared with the merit and light manifested in respect of the shared actions mentioned in the above example?
 Second Example: Craftsmen are obtaining significant wealth through co-operating in order to profit more from the products of their crafts. Formerly ten men who made sewing needles all worked on their own, and the fruit of their individual labour was three needles a day. Then in accordance with the rule of joint enterprise the ten men united. One brought the iron, one lit the furnace, one pierced the needles, one placed them in the furnace, and another sharpened the points, and so on... each was occupied with only part of the process of the craft of needle-making. Since the work in which he was employed was simple, time was not wasted, he gained skill, and performed the work with considerable speed. Then they divided up the work which had been in accordance with the rule of joint enterprise and the division of labour: they saw that instead of three needles a day, it worked out at three hundred for each man. This event was widely published among the craftsmen of 'the worldly' in order to encourage them to pool their labour.
 And so, my brothers! Since union and accord in the matters of this world and in dense materials yield such results and huge total benefits, you can compare how vastly profitable it is for each to reflect in his own mirror through Divine grace the light of all, which is luminous and pertains to the Hereafter and does not need to be divided up and fragmented, and to gain the equivalent reward of all of them. This huge profit should not be lost through rivalry and insincerity. 
  1. 220
 The Second Obstacle Destroying Sincerity 
 This is to flatter the ego and give high status to the evil-commanding soul through attracting attention to oneself and public acclaim, driven by the desire for fame, renown, and position. This is a serious spiritual sickness, so too it opens the door to the hypocrisy and self-centredness called 'the hidden association of partners with God,' and damages sincerity.
 My brothers! Our way in the service of the Qur'an is reality and brotherhood, and the true meaning of brotherhood is to annihilate one's personality among one's brothers13 and to prefer their souls to one's own soul. Rivalry of this sort arising from desire for rank and position should not therefore be provoked. It is altogether opposed to our way. The brothers' honour may be all the individuals' generally; so I am hopeful that sacrificing that great collective honour for personal, selfish, competitive, minor fame and renown is far from being something the Risale-i Nur students would do. Yes, the heart, mind, and spirit of the Risale-i Nur students would not stoop to lowly, harmful, inferior things like that. But everyone has an evil-commanding soul, and sometimes the soul's emotions influence certain veins of character, and govern to an extent in spite of the heart, mind, and spirit; I am not accusing your hearts, minds, and spirits. I have confidence in you because of the effect of the Risale-i Nur. But the soul, desires, emotions, and imagination sometimes deceive. For this reason you sometimes receive severe warnings. This severity looks to the soul, emotions, desires, and imagination; act cautiously.
 Yes, if our way had been that of subjection to a shaykh, there would have been a single rank, or limited ranks, and numerous capacities would have been appointed to them. There could have been envy and selfishness. But our way is brotherhood. There can be no position of father among brothers, nor can they assume the position of spiritual guide. The rank in brotherhood is broad; it cannot be the cause of envious jostling. At the most brother helps and supports brother; he completes his service. Evidence that much harm and many mistakes have resulted from the envy, greed for spiritual reward, and high aspirations of the paths of spiritual guides are the conflict and rivalry among those who follow the Sufi path-their vast and significant attainments, perfections and benefits-which have had the disastrous consequence of that vast and sacred power of theirs being unable to withstand the gales of innovation.
 13. Yes, happy is he who, in order to gain access to a large pool of sweet water filtered from the spring of the Qur'an, casts his personality and egotism-which are like blocks of ice-into the pool and melts them.
  1. 221
 The Third Obstacle
 This is fear and greed. This obstacle has been expounded completely in the Six Attacks14 together with certain other obstacles. We therefore refer you to that, and making all His Most Beautiful Names our intercessor, we beseech the Most Merciful of the Merciful that He will grant us success in attaining complete sincerity.
 O God! For the sake of Sura al-Ikhlas, place us among Your sincere servants who are saved. Amen. Amen.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.15
 * * *
 14. See, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters 1928-1932 (Istanbul, Sözler Neshriyat 1994), the Sixth Section of the Twenty-Ninth Letter, pp. 483-500. [Tr.] 
 15. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 222
 A Confidential Letter to Some of my Brothers 
 I shall mention a point about two Hadiths to my brothers who become bored of writing, and prefer other recitations during the Three Months, the months of worship, to writing out the Risale-i Nur, although to do this is considered to be worship in five respects.1 The two Hadiths are these:
 The First: "At the Last Judgement, the ink spent by scholars of religion with weigh equally to the blood of the martyrs."2
 The Second: "Whoever adheres to my Sunna when my Community is corrupted shall earn the reward of a hundred martyrs."3 That is, "Those who adhere to and serve the Practices of the Prophet and truths of the Qur'an when innovations and misguidance are rife may gain the reward of a hundred martyrs." 
 O my brothers who weary of writing due to laziness! And O my brothers who lean to Sufism! Together, these two Hadiths show that the black light flowing from the blessed, pure pens serving the truths of belief and mysteries of the Shari'a and Practices of the Prophet (PBUH) at a time such as this, even a drop of their water-of-life-like ink, may gain for you the advantage on the Day of Judgement equal to a hundred drops of the blood of martyrs. So you should try to gain it!
 I f y o u s a y : It says "scholars" in the Hadith, and some of us are only scribes.
 T h e A n s w e r : One who reads these treatises for a year, comprehending and accepting them, may become an important, correct scholar at this time. And even if he does not understand them, since the Risale-i Nur students have a collective personality, doubtless it is learned. As for your pens, they are the immaterial fingers of that collective personality. Although in my own view I am unworthy, due to your good opinion of me, you have afforded me the position of Master (Ustad) and religious scholar, and attached yourselves to me. Since I am unlettered and have difficulty in writing, your pens may be thought of as mine; you will receive the reward indicated in the Hadith.
 S a i d  N u r s i
 * * *
 1. We asked for an explanation of the five sorts of worship which our Master indicates in this valuable letter. The explanation we received is below:
 i. To strive against the people of misguidance, the most important struggle.
 ii. To serve our Master in the form of helping him spread the truth.
 iii. To serve Muslims in respect of belief.
 iv. To obtain knowledge by means of the pen.
 v. To perform worship in the form of reflective thought, one hour of which may sometimes be equal to a year's worship.
 Signed: Rüshtü, Husrev, Re'fet
 2. Ghazzali, Ihya Ulumi'd-Din i, 6; al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir vi, 466; al-Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa ii, 561; Suyuti, Jami'u's-Saghir no: 10026.
 3. Ibn Adiy, al-Kamil fi'd-Duafa ii, 739; al-Munziri, al-Targhib va't-Tarhib i, 41; Tabarani, al-Majma'u'l-Kabir 1394; Ali b. Husamuddin, Muntakhabat Kanzi'l-Ummal i, 100; al-Haythami, Majma'u'z-Zawa'id vii, 282
  1. 223


 In His Name, be He glorified!
 This highly confidential short treatise, which I wrote twenty-two years ago specifically for my closest and most select and sincere brothers while in the village of Barla in the Province of Isparta, I am dedicating to Isparta's just Governor, judiciary, and police. This is because of the concern shown by both the people and the administration of Isparta. If appropriate, several copies should be written by typewriter in either the old or new letters so that those who have been holding me under surveillance and searching out my secrets these twenty-five years may know that I have no hidden secrets whatsoever. They should know that my most hidden secret is this treatise!
 S a i d N u r s i
 Three Indications
 [While being the Third Matter of the Seventeenth Note of the Seventeenth Flash, this was incorporated in the Flashes as the Twenty-Second Flash of the Thirty-First Letter because of the harshness and comprehensiveness of the questions and strength and brilliance of the answers. The Flashes had to give a place to this Flash. It is confidential and particular to my most select, sincere, and loyal brothers.] 
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 And if anyone puts his trust in God, sufficient is [God] for him. For God will surely accomplish His purpose. Verily for all things has God appointed a due proportion.1
 1. Qur'an, 65:3.
  1. 224
 This matter consists of Three Indications.
 An important question about my person and the Risale-i Nur: many people ask, "Although you have not meddled in 'the worldly's' world, why do they meddle in your Hereafter at every opportunity? Whereas no government's laws interfere with recluses and those who have abandoned the world?"
 T h e A n s w e r : The New Said's reply to this question is silence. The New Said says: "Let Divine Determining give the answer for me." Nevertheless, being compelled to, the Old Said's head, which the New Said has borrowed on trust, says: those who should give the answer to this question are the authorities of Isparta Province, and its people. For the authorities and the people are much more concerned with the meaning underlying this question than I am. Since the administration, which consists of thousands of people, and the people, who number hundreds of thousands, are obliged to consider it and defend it in my place, why should I speak with the prosecutors unnecessarily, and defend myself?
 I have been in this province for nine years, and I am gradually turning my back more and more on their world. No aspect of my life has remained hidden. Even my most secret and confidential treatises have come into the hands of the government and some of the deputies. If I had meddled at all in worldly matters, which would have caused 'the worldly' alarm and anxiety, or if I had made any attempt to meddle, or if I had had any idea of doing so, this province and the local government in the towns would have known. But although I have been under their scrutiny and surveillance for nine years, and I too have not hesitated to divulge my secrets to those who have visited me, the authorities have remained silent and have not bothered me. If I had had any fault that could have been harmful to this country's happiness and future, and to its people, over this nine years everyone from the Governor to the village police chief have made themselves responsible. They are obliged to defend me in the face of those who make molehills into mountains concerning me, and make the mountains into molehills. In which case, I refer the answer of this question to them.
 The reason the people of this province are mostly obliged to defend me more than myself is that by means of hundreds of treatises which have demonstrated their effectiveness materially and in fact, I have worked these nine years for these people's eternal life and strength of belief and happiness of life, who are both brothers, and friends, and blessed; and no upset or harm at all has been suffered by anyone on account of the treatises;
  1. 225

and not the slightest sign of anything political or worldly has been encountered; and, praise be to God, by means of the Risale-i Nur, this province of Isparta has gained in respect of strength of belief and firmness in religion a degree of blessedness resembling the blessedness of Damascus in former times and of al-Azhar in Egypt; and the Risale-i Nur has made the power of belief prevail over indifference and the desire to worship prevail over vice in the province, and has made it more religious than any other province. Since this is the case, all its people, even supposing they are irreligious, are obliged to defend me and the Risale-i Nur. While they have such important rights of defence, my unimportant, insignificant right does not drive me to defend myself at a time I, this powerless one, have completed my duty and, thanks be to God, thousands of students have worked and are working in my place. Someone with so many thousands of advocates does not defend his own case.

 The answer to a critical question.
 'The worldly' ask: "Why are you angry with us? You have not made application to us even once, and are silent. You complain about us bitterly, saying that we are unjust towards you. But we have our principles, we have our particular rules, as demanded by this age, and you do not accept that they are applied to you. One who applies the law is not a tyrant, and one who does not accept the law is rebellious. For instance, in this age of freedom and new republican era which we have inaugurated, the principle-on the basis of equality-of abolishing oppression and subjugation of others is as though our fundamental law. However, it is understood from your open behaviour and your adventurous life in the former period that whether by assuming the position of hoja or of being an ascetic, you try to draw the public gaze on yourself and attract attention, so to secure a power and social position outside the government's influence. This may appear desirable within-according to current terminology-the despotic tyranny of the bourgeouisie. But since the principles of pure socialism and bolshevism, which have emerged with the awakening and ascendancy of our common people, are more conformable with our interests, we have accepted them, and your position is disagreeable to us; it opposes our principles. For this reason you do not have the right to complain about and be angry at the distress we cause you."
 T h e A n s w e r : If one who opens up a new way in the life of human society does not act in conformity with the natural laws in force in the universe, he cannot be successful in beneficial works and in progress. All his acts become on account of evil and destruction. Since actions have
  1. 226

to be in conformity with the natural laws, absolute equality can only be applied by changing human nature and removing the fundamental wisdom in the mankind's creation. Yes, by birth and the way I have lived I am from the class of common people, and I am one of those who by temperament and intellectually have accepted the way of 'equality of rights.' And due to compassion and the justice proceeding from Islam, I am one of those who for a long time have opposed and worked against the despotism and oppression of the elite class called the bourgeouisie. I therefore support total justice with all my strength, and oppose tyranny, oppression, arbitrary power, and despotism.

 However, human nature and the underlying wisdom in human kind are contrary to the law of absolute equality. Because, in order to demonstrate His perfect power and wisdom, the All-Wise Creator produces many crops from a single thing, causes many books to be written on a single page, and causes many functions to be performed by a single thing; and in the same way, He causes the duties of thousands of species to be carried out by human kind. It is because of this great mystery that Almighty God created mankind with a nature that would produce the shoots of thousands of species and display the levels of the thousands of other species of living creatures. No limit was placed on man's powers, subtle faculties, and senses like the other animals; since He left him free and gave him a capacity whereby they could roam through endless degrees, while being one species, mankind became like thousands of species. And for this reason, man was God's vicegerent on earth, the result of the universe, and monarch of the animals.
 Thus, the most important leaven and mechanism for the variety in mankind is competition and the true virtue arising from belief. Virtue can only be removed through changing human nature, extinguishing the reason, killing the heart, and annihilating the spirit. Yes, this age with its awesome tyranny under the veil of freedom deserves to be struck in the face with the following masterly lines, which, written by a most important person, have been wrongly brandished in his face, although he deserved no slap:
 It is not possible through tyranny and injustice to destroy freedom;
 Try to remove consciousness, if you can, from human kind. 
 In place of these lines, I say, in order to strike this age in the face:
 It is not possible through tyranny and injustice to destroy reality;
 Try to annihilate the heart, if you can, in human kind.
 It is not possible through tyranny and injustice to destroy virtue; 
 Try to annihilate the conscience, if you can, in human kind.
  1. 227
 Yes, just as the virtue arising from belief cannot be the means of oppression, so too it cannot be the cause of despotism. Oppression and arbitrary despotism indicate the absence of virtue. And the most important way of the people of virtue in particular is to interfere in the life of society only through impotence, poverty, and humility. All praise be to God, my life has passed on this way, and is passing on it. I am not claiming this out of pride, saying that I possess some virtue. I say the following with the intention of offering thanks and making known a Divine bounty:
 Through His grace and munificence, Almighty God bestowed on me the virtue of working for the sciences of belief and the Qur'an. All praise be to God, throughout my life I have spent this Divine bounty for the benefit and happiness of this Muslim nation, and just as at no time I have made it the means of dominating and oppressing others, so too for an important reason I detest public attention and being fêted by the people, which is sought after by the neglectful; I flee from it. Since twenty years of my former life were lost because of that, I consider it to be harmful for me. But since I know public attention to be a sign of the people liking the Risale-i Nur, I do not put them off.
 And so, O you whose view is restricted to the life of this world! I have not meddled in any way in your world, nor have I had anything to do with your principles, nor as is testified to by my life during these nine years of captivity, have I had any intention or desire to meddle in the world again. So according to what law have you inflicted all this surveillance and oppression on me as though I was an old oppressor who was ever ready to seize an opportunity and supported the idea of tyranny and despotism? No government in the world permits such treatment over and above the law, which is recommended by no one. It is not only me who is sick of the ill-treatment I have had meted out to me so far, if they knew of it, all mankind would be disgusted, and even the universe!
 A fallacious, crazy question.
 Some members of the judiciary say: "Since you reside in this country, you should abide by its republican laws. So why do you elude those laws under the cloak of being a recluse? For instance, according to the present laws of the government, it is opposed to one of the principles of the Republic, which is based on equality, to assume some virtue, some merit, outside one's duty, and through it to dominate some of the nation and exercise power and influence. Why do you have your hand kissed, though you hold no position? Why do you assume a position advertising yourself and saying: Let the people listen to me?" 
  1. 228
 T h e A n s w e r : Those who apply the law, may apply it to others after first applying it to themselves. By applying a principle to others which you had not applied to yourselves, you are infringing and opposing your own principle and law before anyone. Because you want to apply this law of absolute equality to me. So I say this:
 Whenever a common soldier rises to the social rank of a field marshal and shares in the respect and acclaim the nation shows to the field marshal and is the object of acclaim and respect the same as him; or whenever the field marshal becomes as common as the soldier and assumes the soldier's lowly position and he retains no value whatsoever outside his duty; and whenever the most brilliant military commander who leads the army to victories receives public acclaim, respect and affection equal to that of the dimmest common soldier; then as required by this law of equality of yours, you can tell me: "Don't call yourself a hoja! Don't accept respect! Deny your virtue! Serve the servants, and take beggars as your friends!"
 I f y o u s a y : "Respect, social position, and public attention are in regard to functions and particular to those who perform them when they are performing them. But you have no function, so you may not accept the people's respect as though you did have one."
 T h e A n s w e r : If man consisted only of a body, and he was going to live in this world for ever, and if the door of the grave was closed and death had been killed, then his duties and functions would have been limited to the army and government officials, and what you say would have had some meaning. But since man does not consist only of a body, and his heart, tongue, mind, and brain cannot be plucked out to feed his body; they cannot be annihilated; they too required to be administered.
 And since the door of the grave does not close, and since anxiety for the future beyond the grave is the most important question facing everyone, then the duties based on the respect and obedience of the nation are not restriced to the social, political, and military duties looking to its worldly life. Yes, just as it is a duty to give a passport to those travelling abroad, so is it also a duty to give a passport to those travelling to post-eternity and to give them a light for that dark way, and it is such a duty that no other duty bears its importance. That duty can be denied only through denying death and giving the lie to the testimony of the thirty thousand witnesses who every day set their signatures with the seals of their corpses on the claim "Death is a reality," affirming it. 
 Since there are moral and spiritual duties based on moral and spiritual needs, and the most important of those duties are the passport for the
  1. 229

journey to post-eternity, and the pocket-torch of the heart in the darkness of the Intermediate Realm, and belief, the key to eternal happiness, and instruction in belief and its strengthening, for sure, the learned who perform those duties will not with ingratitude count as nothing the Divine bounties bestowed on them and the virtues arising from belief, and descend to the level of sinners and the dissolute. They will not soil themselves with the innovations and vices of the base. Thus, the solitude which you do not like and suppose to be inequality is because of this.

 In addition to this truth I say the following, not to those like you who torment and pester me and who in egotism and breaking the law of equality are as overweening as the Pharaoh-because the arrogant suppose humility to be abasement, so one should not be humble before them-I say rather to the fair-minded, the modest, and the just:
 All praise be to God, I know my own faults and impotence. I do not arrogantly want any position superior to Muslims which demands respect. I rather continuously see my endless faults and utter insignificance. Finding consolation through seeking Divine forgiveness, I want not respect from the people, but their prayers. I reckon all my friends know of this way of mine. There is only this, that while serving the All-Wise Qur'an and teaching the truths of belief, in order to preserve the dignity and pride of learning that such a rank requires, on account of those truths and in honour of the Qur'an and in order not to bow before the people of misguidance, I temporarily assume that dignified stance. I do not think 'the worldly's' laws can oppose these points!
 SOME ASTONISHING TREATMENT: It is well-known that everywhere teachers judge in accordance with knowledge and learning. In whomever and wherever they encounter knowledge and learning, they will nurture friendship and respect for the person due to their profession. If a professor from an enemy country visits this country even, teachers will visit him out of respect for his knowledge and learning, and offer him respect.
 However, when the highest learned council of the British asked for a six-hundred-word answer to six questions they asked the Shaykhu'l-Islam's Office, a scholar and teacher who has met with the disrespect of the education authorities here, answered those six questions with six words which met with approval, and answered with true knowledge and learning the most basic and important principles of the Europeans and their philosophers, and defeated them. Through the strength he received from the Qur'an, he challenged those European philosophers. And in Istanbul six months before the proclamation of the Second Constitution,
  1. 230

he invited both the religious scholars and scholars of modern science to debate, and himself asking no questions answered completely correctly without exception all questions posed to him.2 Those who have caused most distress to this scholar and teacher-who has devoted all his life to the happiness of this nation, and publishing hundreds of treatises in the people's own language of Turkish has illuminated them, and is both a fellow-citizen and a co-religionist and friend and brother-those who have nurtured enmity towards him, and indeed been disrespectful towards him, have been certain members of the educational establishment as well as a few official hojas.

 And so, what have you got to say to this? Is this civilization? Is it encouraging education? Is it patriotism? Is it love of the nation? Is it republicanism? God forbid! It is nothing at all! It is rather that Divine Determining showed hostility where this scholar and teacher hoped for friendship so that hypocrisy should not become mixed with his learning due to respect, and he might gain sincerity.
 An assault which in my view was astonishing, but was the means to thanks:
 'The worldly', who are extraordinarily egotistical, are so sensitive in their egotism that if it had been conscious, it would have reached the degree of wonder-working or of great genius. The matter in question was this: 
 Through the sensitive balance of their egotism, they perceive in me a little hypocritical egotism which I had not perceived with my soul and mind, and in violent fashion confront this egotism which I had not realized. This eight or nine years I have experienced the following eight or nine times: after they have treated me wrongfully and unjustly, I have considered Divine Determining and searched out the tricks of my soul, saying: "Why have they been set to pester me?" Each time I have understood that my soul has unconsciously and naturally inclined to egotism, or else has knowingly deceived me. So then I have said that within the injustice of those tyrants Divine Determining has acted justly towards me.
 2. The New Said says: I do concur with the words utterly here proudly by the Old Said, but I cannot silence him since I gave him say in this treatise. Thinking, Let him display a bit of egotism before the egotists, I am silent.
  1. 231
 For instance, this summer my friends mounted me on a fine horse and I rode out into the countryside. On a selfish desire for pleasure awakening in me without my being aware of it, 'the worldly' opposed that hidden desire of mine so violently that they destroyed not only it, but also my appetite for many other things. Even, for example, following Ramadan and after learning of the allusions made to us through his wonder-working which penetrated the Unseen by one of the great, holy imams of former times, faced with the piety and sincerity of my brothers and the respect and good opinion of visitors, without my realizing it, my soul wanted proudly to assume a hypocritical position under the veil of being thankful. Suddenly with their infinite sensitivity and in a way in which the very particles of hypocrisy could be felt, 'the worldly' attacked me. I thank Almighty God that their tyranny became a means of my gaining sincerity.
 And say: "O my Sustainer! I seek refuge with you from the suggestions of the Evil Ones. * And I seek refuge with You lest they should come near me."3
 O God! O Protector! O Preserver! O Best of Protectors! Preserve me and preserve my companions from the evil of the soul and of Satan, and from the evil of people of misguidance and of rebellion. Amen. Amen. Amen.
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.4
 * * *
 3. Qur'an, 23:97.
 4. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 232


 On Nature
 [First written as the Sixteenth Note of the Seventeenth Flash, this part of the Risale-i Nur was later designated as the Twenty-Third Flash because of its importance. For it puts naturalistic atheism to death with no chance of reanimation, and totally shatters the foundation stones of unbelief.]
 A Reminder
 This treatise explains through Nine Impossibilities, themselves comprising at least ninety impossibilities, just how unreasonable, crude and superstitious is the way taken by those Naturalists who are atheists. In order to cut short the discussion here and because these impossibilities have been explained in part in other sections of the Risale-i Nur, and some steps in the arguments have been skipped. It occurs to one, therefore, how is it that those famous and supposedly brilliant philosophers accepted such a blantantly obvious superstition, and continue to pursue that way. Well, the fact is they could not see its reality. And I am ready to explain in detail and prove through clear and decisive arguments to whoever doubts it that these crude, repugnant and unreasonable impossibilities are the necessary and unavoidable result of their way; in fact, the very gist of their creed.1
 1. What occasioned the writing of this treatise were the attacks being made on the Qur'an by those who called everything that their corrupted minds could not reach a superstition, who were using Nature to justify unbelief, and were vilifying the truths of belief in a most aggressive and ugly fashion. Those attacks stirred up in my heart an intense anger which resulted in those perverted atheists and falsifiers of the truth receiving vehement and harsh slaps. Otherwise, the way generally followed by the Risale-i Nur is a mild, polite and persuasive one.
  1. 233
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Their prophets said: "Is there any doubt about God, Creator of the heavens and the earth?"2
 By declaring through the use of a rhetorical question that there cannot and should not be any doubt about God Almighty, this verse clearly demonstrates the Divine existence and Unity. 
 A point to be mentioned before our discussion:
 When I went to Ankara in 1922, the morale of the people of belief was extremely high as a result of the victory of the army of Islam over the Greeks. But I saw that an abominable current of atheism was treacherously trying to subvert, poison and destroy their minds. "O God!" I said, "this monster is going to harm the fundamentals of belief." At that point, since the above-mentioned verse makes self-evidently plain God's existence and Unity, I sought assistance from it and wrote a treatise in Arabic consisting of a proof taken from the All-Wise Qur'an that was powerful enough to disperse and destroy that atheistic current. I had it printed in Ankara at the Yeni Gün Press. But, alas, those who knew Arabic were few and those who considered it seriously were rare. Also, its argument was in an extremely concise and abbreviated form. As a result, the treatise did not have the effect it should have done and sadly, that current of atheism both swelled and gained strength. Now, I feel compelled to explain a part of the proof in Turkish. Since certain parts of it have been fully explained in other sections of the Risale-i Nur, it will be written in summary form here. Those numerous proofs in part unite in this proof; so each may be seen as an element of this proof.
 O man! You should be aware that there are certain phrases which are commonly used and imply unbelief. The believers also use them, but without realizing their implications. We shall explain three of the most important of them.
 The First: "Causes create this."
 The Second: "It forms itself; it comes into existence and later ceases to exist."
 The Third: "It is natural; Nature necessitates and creates it."
 Indeed, since beings exist and this cannot be denied, and since each being comes into existence in a wise and artistic fashion, and since each is not outside time but is being continuously renewed, then, O falsifier
 2. Qur'an, 14:10.
  1. 234

of the truth, you are bound to say either that the causes in the world create beings, for example, this animal; that is to say, it comes into existence through the coming together of causes, or that it forms itself, or that its coming into existence is a requirement and necessary effect of Nature, or that it is created through the power of One All-Powerful and All-Glorious. Since reason can find no way apart from these four, if the first three are definitely proved to be impossible, invalid and absurd, the way of Divine Unity, which is the fourth way, will necessarily and self-evidently and without doubt or suspicion, be proved true.

 This to imagine that the formation and existence of things, creatures, occurs through the coming together of the causes in the universe. We shall mention only three of its numerous impossibilities.
 First Impossibility
 Imagine there is a pharmacy in which there are hundreds of jars and phials filled with quite different substances. A living potion and a living remedy are required from those medicaments. So we go to the pharmacy and see that they are to be found there in abundance, yet in great variety. We examine each of the potions and see that the ingredients have been taken in varying but precise amounts from each of the jars and phials, one ounce from this, three from that, seven from the next, and so on. If one ounce too much or too little had been taken, the potion would not have been living and would not have displayed its special quality. Next, we study the living remedy. Again, the ingredients have been taken from the jars in a particular measure so that if even the most minute amount too much or too little had been taken, the remedy would have lost its special property.
 Now, although the jars number more than fifty, the ingredients have been taken from each according to measures and amounts that are all different. Is it in any way possible or probable that the phials and jars should have been knocked over by a strange coincidence or sudden gust of wind and that only the precise, though different, amounts that had been taken from each of them should have been spilt, and then arranged themselves and come together to form the remedy? Is there anything more superstitious, impossible and absurd than this? If an ass could speak, it would say: "I cannot accept this idea!", and would gallop off!
 Similarly, each living being may be likened to the living potion in the comparison, and each plant to a living remedy. For they are composed of matter that has been taken in most precise measure from truly numerous and truly various substances. If these are attributed to causes and the
  1. 235

elements and it is claimed, "Causes created these," it is unreasonable, impossible and absurd a hundred times over, just as it was to claim that the potion in the pharmacy came into existence through the phials being knocked over; by accident.

 I n S h o r t : The vital substances in this vast pharmacy of the universe, which are measured on the scales of Divine Determining and Decree of the All-Wise and Pre-Eternal One, can only come into existence through a boundless wisdom, infinite knowledge and all-encompassing will. The unfortunate person who declares that they are the work of blind, deaf and innumerable elements and causes and natures, which stream like floods; and the foolish, delirious person who claims that that wondrous remedy poured itself out when the phials were knocked over and formed itself, are certainly unreasonable and nonsensical. Indeed, such denial and unbelief is a senseless absurdity.
 Second Impossibility
 If everything is not attributed to the All-Powerful and All-Glorious One, Who is the Single One of Unity, but is attributed to causes, it necessitates that many of the elements and causes present in the universe intervene in the being of every animate creature. Whereas that different and mutually opposing and conflicting causes should come together of their own accord in complete order, with the finest balance and in perfect concord in the being of a tiny creature, like a fly, is such an obvious impossibility that anyone with even an iota of consciousness would say: "This is impossible; it could not be!"
 The tiny body of a fly is connected with most of the elements and causes in the universe; indeed, it is a summary of them. If it is not attributed to the Pre-Eternal and All-Powerful One, it is necessary for those material causes to be themselves present in the immediate vicinity of the fly; rather, for them all to enter into its tiny body; and even for them to enter each of the cells of its eyes, which are minute samples of its body. For if a cause is of a material nature, it is necessary for it to be present in the immediate vicinity of, and inside, its effect. And this necessitates accepting that the constituents and elements of the universe are physically present inside that minute cell, a place too small even for the tip of its antenna, and that they work there in harmony like a master.
 A way such as this, then, shames even the most foolish of the Sophists.
 Third Impossibility
 It is an established rule that, "If a being has unity, it can only have issued from a single being, from one hand." Particularly if it displays a comprehensive life within a perfect order and sensitive balance, it demonstrates
  1. 236

self-evidently that it did not issue from numerous hands, which are the cause of conflict and confusion, but that it issued from a single hand that is All-Powerful and All-Wise. Therefore, to attribute a well-ordered and well-balanced being which has unity such as that to the jumbled hands of innumerable, lifeless, ignorant, aggressive, unconscious, chaotic, blind and deaf natural causes, the blindness and deafness of which increase with their coming together and intermingling among the ways of numberless possibilities, is as unreasonable as accepting innumerable impossibilities all at once. If we leave this impossibility aside and assume that material causes have effects, these effects can only occur through direct contact and touch. However, the contact of natural causes is with the exteriors of living beings. And yet we see that the interiors of such beings, where the hands of material causes can neither reach nor touch, are ten times more delicate, well-ordered and perfect as regards art than their exteriors. Therefore, although tiny animate creatures, on which the hands and organs of material causes can in no way be situated, indeed they cannot touch the creatures' exteriors all at once even, are more strange and wonderful as regards their art and creation than the largest creatures, to attribute them to those lifeless, unknowing, crude, distant, vast, conflicting, deaf and blind causes can result only from a deafness and blindness compounded to the number of animate beings.

 This is expressed by the phrase "It forms itself." It too involves many impossibilities and is absurd and impossible in many aspects. We shall explain three examples of these impossibilities.
 First Impossibility
 O you obstinate denier! Your egotism has made you so stupid that somehow you decide to accept a hundred impossibilities all at once. For you yourself are a being and not some simple substance that is inanimate and unchanging. You are like an extremely well-ordered machine that is constantly being renewed and a wonderful palace that is undergoing continuous change. Particles are working unceasingly in your body. Your body has a connection and mutual relations with the universe, in particular with regard to sustenance and the perpetuation of the species, and the particles that work within it are careful not to spoil that relationship nor to break the connection. In this cautious manner they set about their work, as though taking the whole universe into account. Seeing your relationships within it, they take up their positions accordingly. And you benefit with your external and inner senses in accordance with the wonderful positions that they take.
  1. 237
 If you do not accept that the particles in your body are tiny officials in motion in accordance with the law of the Pre-Eternal and All-Powerful One, or that they are an army, or the nibs of the pen of Divine Determining, with each particle as the nib of a pen, or that they are points inscribed by the pen of Power with each particle being a point, then in every particle working in your eye there would have to be an eye such as could see every limb and part of your body as well as the entire universe, with which you are connected. In addition to this, you would have to ascribe to each particle an intelligence equivalent to that of a hundred geniuses, sufficient to know and recognize all your past and your future, and your forbears and descendants, the origins of all the elements of your being, and the sources of all your sustenance.
 To attribute the knowledge and consciousness of a thousand Plato's to a single particle of one such as you who does not possess even a particle's worth of intelligence in matters of this kind is a crazy superstition a thousand times over!
 Second Impossibility
 Your being resembles a thousand-domed wondrous palace in which the stones stand together in suspension and without support. Indeed, your being is a thousand times more wonderful than such a palace, for the palace of your being is being renewed continuously in perfect order. Leaving aside your truly wonderful spirit, heart and other subtle faculties, each member of your body resembles a single-domed part of the palace. Like the stones of a dome, the particles stand together in perfect balance and order demonstrating the eye and the tongue, for example, each to be a wondrous building, extraordinary work of art, and miracle of power.
 If these particles were not each officials dependent on the command of the master architect of the universe, then each particle would have to be both absolutely dominant over all the other particles in the body and absolutely subordinate to each of them; and both equal to each and, with regard to its dominant position, opposed; and both the origin and source of most of the attributes that pertain only to the Necessarily Existent One, and extremely restricted; and both in absolute form, and in the form of a perfectly ordered individual artefact that could only, through the mystery of unity, be the work of the Single One of Unity.
 Anyone with even a particle of consciousness would understand what an obvious impossibility this is; to attribute such an artefact to those particles. 
 Third Impossibility
 If your being is not 'written' by the pen of the Pre-Eternal and All-Powerful One, Who is the Single One of Unity, and is instead 'printed'
  1. 238

by Nature and causes, there would have to be printing-blocks in Nature not only to the number of cells in your body, but to the number of their thousands of combinations, which are arranged in concentric circles. Because, for example, if this book which we hold in our hand is written, a single pen may write it relying on the knowledge of its writer. If, on the other hand, it is not written and is not attributed to its writer's pen, and if it is said that it exists of its own accord or it is ascribed to Nature, then, as a printed book, it would be necessary for there to be a different iron pen of each letter so that it could be printed. In a printing-press there have to be pieces of type to the number of letters in the alphabet so the letters in the book come into existence by means of them; pens to the number of those letters being necessary in place of a single pen.

 As may be seen, sometimes a whole page is written in a single large letter from among those letters with a small pen in fine script, in which case a thousand pens would be necessary for one letter. Rather, if it took the form of your body, with all its components one within the other in concentric circles, there would have to be printing-blocks in each circle, for each component, to the number of the combinations that they form.
 Now, see, if you claim this, which involves a hundred impossibilities, to be possible, then again if they are not attributed to a single pen, for those well-ordered, artistic pieces of type, faultless printing-blocks and iron pens to be made, further pens, printing-blocks and letters to the same number as themselves would be necessary. And they too would have to have been made; and they too would have to have been well-ordered and artistically fashioned. And so on. It would carry on in succession ad infinitum.
 There, you too understand! This way of thinking is such that it involves impossibilites and superstitions to the number of particles in your body. O denier of God! See this, and quit the way of misguidance!
 "Nature necessitates it; Nature makes it." This statement contains many impossibilities. We shall mention three of them by way of examples.
 First Impossibility
 If the art and creativity, which are discerning and wise, to be seen in beings and particularly in animate beings are not attributed to the pen of Divine Determining and Power of the Pre-Eternal Sun, and instead are attributed to Nature and force, which are blind, deaf and unthinking, it becomes necessary that Nature either should have present in everything
  1. 239

machines and printing-presses for their creation, or should include in everything power and wisdom enough to create and administer the universe. The reason for this is as follows:

 The sun's manifestations and reflections appear in all small fragments of glass and droplets on the face of the earth. If those miniature, reflected imaginary suns are not ascribed to the sun in the sky, it is necessary to accept the external existence of an actual sun in every tiny fragment of glass smaller than a match-head, which possesses the sun's qualities and which, though small in size, bears profound meaning; and therefore to accept actual suns to the number of pieces of glass.
 In exactly the same way, if beings and animate creatures are not attributed directly to the manifestation of the Pre-Eternal Sun's Names, it becomes necessary to accept that in each being, and especially animate beings, there lies a nature, a force, or quite simply a god that will sustain an infinite power and will, and knowledge and wisdom. Such an idea is the most absurd and superstitious of all the impossibilities in the universe. It demonstrates that a man who attributes the art of the Creator of the universe to imaginary, insignificant, unconscious Nature is without a doubt less conscious of the truth than an animal.
 Second Impossibility
 If beings, which are most well-ordered and well-measured, wise and artistically fashioned, are not ascribed to One Who is infinitely powerful and wise and instead are attributed to Nature, it becomes necessary for there to be present in every bit of soil as many factories and printing-presses as there are in Europe so that each bit of soil can be the means for the growth and formation of innumerable flowers and fruits, of which it is the place of origin and workshop. The seeds of flowers are sown in turn in a bowl of soil, which performs the duty of a flower-pot for them. An ability is apparent in the bowl of soil that will give shapes and forms which differ greatly from one another to all the flowers sown in it. If that ability is not attributed to the All-Glorious and All-Powerful One, such a situation could not occur without there being in the bowlful of soil immaterial, different and natural machines for each flower.
 This is because the matter of which seeds, like sperm and eggs for example, consist is the same. That is, they consist of an orderless, formless, paste-like mixture of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen. Together with this, since air, water, heat and light also are each simple, unconscious and flow against everything in floods, the fact that the all-different forms of those flowers emerge from the soil in a most well-ordered and artistic fashion self-evidently and necessarily requires that
  1. 240

there are present in the soil in the bowl immaterial, miniature printing-presses and factories to the number of presses and factories in Europe so that they could weave this great number of living fabrics and thousands of various embroidered textiles.

 Thus, you can see how far the unbelieving thought of the Naturalists has deviated from the realm of reason. And although brainless pretenders who imagine Nature to be creator claim to be "men of science and reason," see just how distant from reason and science is their thought, so that they have taken a superstition that is in no way possible, that is impossible, as a way for themselves. See this and laugh at them! 
 I f y o u a s k : If such extraordinary impossibilities and insurmountable difficulties occur when beings are attributed to Nature, how are those difficulties removed when they are attributed to the Single and Eternally Besought One? And how is the difficult impossibility transformed into that easy necessity?
 T h e A n s w e r : We saw in the First Impossibility that the manifestation of the sun's reflection displays its radiance and effect through miniature imaginary suns with complete ease and lack of trouble in everything from the minutest inanimate particle to the surface of the vastest ocean. If each particle's relationship with the sun is severed, it then becomes necessary to accept that the external existence of an actual sun could subsist, with a difficulty at the level of impossibility, in each of those minute particles.
 Similarly, if each being is ascribed directly to the Single and Eternally Besought One, everything necessary for each being can be conveyed to it through a connection and manifestation with an ease and facility that is at the level of necessity. If the connection is severed and each being reverts from its position as an official to being without duties, and is left to Nature and its own devices, it then becomes necessary to suppose that, with a hundred thousand difficulties and obstacles that reach the degree of impossibility, blind Nature possesses within it a power and wisdom with which to create and administer the universe so that it might bring into existence the wonderful machine of the being of an animate creature like a fly, which is a tiny index of the universe. This is impossible not just once but thousands of times over.
 I n S h o r t : Just as it is impossible and precluded for the Necessarily Existent One to have any partner or like in respect of His Essence, so too is the interference of others in His dominicality and in His creation of beings impossible and precluded.
  1. 241
 As for the difficulties involved in the Second Impossibility, as is proved in many parts of the Risale-i Nur, if all things are attributed to the Single One of Unity, all things become as easy and trouble-free as a single thing. Whereas if they are attributed to causes and Nature, a single thing becomes as difficult as all things. This has been demonstrated with numerous, decisive proofs and a summary of one of them is as follows.
 If a man is connected to a king through being a soldier or an official, by reason of the strength of that connection, he may perform duties far exceeding his own individual strength. He may, on occasion, capture another king in the name of his own king. For he himself does not carry the equipment and sources of strength necessary to carry out the duties and work he performs, nor is he compelled to do so. By reason of the connection, the king's treasuries, and the army, which is behind him and is his point of support, carry his equipment and sources of strength. That is to say, the duties he performs may be as grand as the business of a king, and as tremendous as the actions of an army.
 Indeed, through being an official, an ant destroyed Pharaoh's palace. Through the connection, a fly killed Nimrod off. And through the connection, the seed of a pine the size of a grain of wheat produces all the parts of a huge pine-tree.3
 Were the connection to be severed and the man discharged from his duties as an official, he would be compelled to carry the equipment and sources of strength necessary for his work himself. He would then only be able to perform duties in accordance with the sources of strength and ammunition that he was able to carry. If he was to be required in this situation to carry out his duties with the extreme ease of the first situation, it would be necessary to load on his back the sources of an army's strength and the arsenals and munitions factories of a king. Even clowns who invent stories and superstitions to make people laugh would be ashamed at this fanciful idea.
 I n S h o r t : To attribute all beings to the Necessarily Existent One is so easy as to be necessary. While to attribute their creation to Nature is so difficult as to be impossible and outside the realm of reason.
 3. Yes, on there being this connection, the seed receives an order from Divine Determining and displays those wonderful duties. Should the connection be severed, the creation of the seed would require more equipment, power and art than the creation of the mighty pine-tree. For it would be necessary for the pine-tree out there on the mountain, which is the work of Divine power, to be physically present together with all its limbs and parts in what is only the potential tree within the seed and is the work of Divine Determining. For the mighty tree's factory is the seed. The determined, potential tree within it becomes manifest in the external world through Divine power, and becomes a physical pine-tree.
  1. 242
 Third Impossibility
 The following two comparisons, which are included in other parts of the Risale-i Nur, explain this impossibility. 
 A wild savage entered a palace which had been built in an empty desert, and completed and adorned with all the fruits of civilization. He cast an eye over its interior and saw thousands of well-ordered and artistically fashioned objects. Because of his boorishness and lack of intelligence, he said: "No one from outside had a hand in this, one of the objects from inside must have made this palace together with all of its contents," and started to investigate. However, whatever he looked at, even his untaught intelligence could not fathom out how it had made those things.
 Later, he saw a notebook in which had been written the plan and programme of the palace's construction, an index of its contents and the rules of its administration. For sure, the notebook too, which was without hand, eye, or implement, like the rest of the objects in the palace, was completely lacking the ability to construct and decorate the palace. But, since he saw that in comparison with all the other things, the notebook was related to the whole palace by reason of its including all its theoretical laws, he was obliged to say: "There, it is this notebook that has organized, ordered and adorned this palace, and has fashioned all these objects and set them in their places." He transformed his uncouthness into ludicrous jabber.
 Thus, exactly like this comparison, a boor who subscribed to Naturalist thought, which denies God, entered the palace of the universe, which is infinitely more well-ordered, more perfect and everywhere full of miraculous instances of wisdom than the palace in the comparison. Not thinking that it was the work of art of the Necessarily Existent One, Who is outside the sphere of contingency, and shunning that idea, he saw a collection of the laws of Divine practice and an index of dominical art, which are like a slate for writing and erasing of Divine Determining in the sphere of contingency, and like a constantly changing notebook for the laws of the functioning of Divine power, and are extremely mistakenly and erroneously given the name 'Nature', and he said:
 "These things require a cause and nothing else appears to have the relationship with everything like this notebook has. It is true that reason will in no way accept that this unseeing, unconscious and powerless notebook could carry out this creation, which is the work of an absolute dominicality and requires infinite power. But since I do not recognize the Eternal Maker, the most plausible explanation is to say the notebook made it, and makes it, so I shall say that." To which we reply:
  1. 243

O you mistaken unfortunate! Your foolishness exceeds anything imaginable! Lift your head out of the swamp of Nature and look beyond yourself! See an All-Glorious Maker to Whom all beings from particles to planets testify with their different tongues and Whom they indicate with their fingers! Behold the manifestation of the Pre-Eternal Inscriber, Who fashions the palace and Who writes its programme in the notebook! Study His decree, listen to the Qur'an! Be delivered from your delirious raving!

 Second Comparison: A rustic bumpkin entered the bounds of a splendid palace and saw there the uniform actions of an extremely orderly army carrying out its drill. He observed a battalion, a regiment and a division stand to attention, stand at ease and march, and open fire when commanded as though they were a single private. Since his rude, uncultured mind could not comprehend, so denied, that a commander had been given command by the country's laws and by royal decree, he imagined that the soldiers were attached to one another with strings. He thought of what wonderful string it must be, and was amazed.
 Later, he continued on his way till he came upon a magnificent mosque like Aya Sophia. He entered it at the time of Friday prayer and watched the congregation of Muslims rising, bowing, prostrating and sitting at the sound of man's voice. Since he did not understand the Shari'a, which consists of a collection of immaterial, revealed laws, nor the immaterial rules proceeding from the Lawgiver's command, he fancied the congregation to be bound to one another by physical string, and that this wonderful string had subjected them and was making them move like puppets. And, coming up with this idea, which is so ridiculous as to make the most ignorant roar with laughter, he went on his way.
 Exactly like this comparison, an atheist who subscribed to materialist thought, which is denial and pure brutishness, entered the universe, which is a splendid barracks of the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity for His innumerable forces, and a well-ordered mosque of that Pre-Eternal All-Worshipped One. He imagined the immaterial laws of the ordering of the universe, which proceed from the Pre-Eternal Monarch's wisdom, each to have material and physical existence; and supposed the theoretical laws of the sovereignty of dominicality, and the rules and ordinances of the Greater Shari'a, the Shari'a of Creation, which are immaterial and exist only as knowledge, each to have external, material and physical existence. But to set up in place of Divine power those laws, which proceed from the Divine attributes of knowledge and speech and only exist as knowledge, and to attribute creation to them; then to attach the name 'Nature' to them, and to deem force, which is merely a manifestation of dominical power, to be an independent almighty possessor of 
  1. 244

power, is a thousand times more low-fallen ignorance than the ignorance in the comparison.

 I n S h o r t : The imaginary and insubstantial thing that Naturalists call Nature, if it has an external reality, can at the very most be work of art; it cannot be the Artist. It is an embroidery, and cannot be the Embroiderer. It is a set of decrees; it cannot be the Issuer of the decrees. It is a body of the laws of creation, and cannot be the Lawgiver. It is but a created screen to the dignity of God, and cannot be the Creator. It is passive and created, and cannot be a Creative Maker. It is a law, not a power, and cannot possess power. It is the recipient, and cannot be the source.
 T o C o n c l u d e : Since beings exist, and as was stated at the beginning of this treatise, reason cannot think of a way to explain the existence of beings apart from the four mentioned, three of which were each decisively proved through three clear Impossibilities to be invalid and absurd, then necessarily and self-evidently the way of Divine Unity, which is the fourth way, is proved in a conclusive manner. The fourth way, in accordance with the verse quoted at the beginning:
 Is there any doubt about God, Creator of the heavens and the earth?4
 demonstrates clearly so that there can be no doubt or hesitation the Divinity of the Necessarily Existent One, and that all things issue directly from the hand of His power, and that the heavens and the earth are under His sway.
 O you unfortunate worshipper of causes and Nature! Since the nature of each thing, like all things, is created, for it is full of art and is being constantly renewed, and, like the effect, the apparent cause of each thing is also created; and since for each thing to exist there is need for much equipment and many tools; there must exist a Possessor of Absolute Power Who creates the nature and brings the cause into existence. And that Absolutely Powerful One is in no need of impotent intermediaries to share in His dominicality and creation. God forbid! He creates cause and effect together directly. In order to demonstrate His wisdom and the manifestation of His Names, by establishing an apparent causal relationship and connection through order and sequence, He makes causes and Nature a veil to the hand of His power so that the apparent faults, severities and defects in things should be ascribed to them, and in this way His dignity be preserved.
 Is it easier for a watch-maker to make the cog-wheels of a clock, and
 4. Qur'an, 14:10.
  1. 245

then arrange them and put them in order to form the clock? Or is it easier for him to make a wonderful machine in each of the cog-wheels, and then leave the making of the clock to the lifeless hands of those machines? Is that not beyond the bounds of possibility? Come on, you judge with your unfair reason, and say!

 And is it easier for a scribe to collect ink, pen and paper, and then using them proceed to write out a book himself? Or is it easier for him to create in the paper, pen and ink a writing-machine that requires more art and trouble than the book, and can be used only for that book, and then say to the unconscious machine: "Come on, you write it!", and himself not interfere? Is that not a hundred times more difficult than writing it himself?
 I f y o u s a y : Yes, it is a hundred times more difficult to create a machine that writes a book rather than writing it out oneself. But is it not in a way easier, because the machine is the means for producing numerous copies of the same book?
 T h e A n s w e r : Through His limitless power, the Pre-Eternal Inscriber continuously renews the infinite manifestations of His Names so as to display them in ever-differing ways. And through this constant renewal, He creates the identities and special features in things in such a manner that no missive of the Eternally Besought One or dominical book can be the same as any other book. In any case, each will have different features in order to express different meanings.
 If you have eyes, look at the human face: you will see that from the time of Adam until today, indeed, until post-eternity, together with the conformity of their essential organs, each face has a distinguishing mark in relation to all the other faces; this is a definite fact. Therefore, each face may be thought of as a different book. Only, for the artwork to be set out, different writing-sets, arrangements, and compositions are required. And in order to both collect and situate the materials, and to include everything necessary for the existence of each, a completely different workshop will be required.
 Now, knowing it to be impossible, we thought of Nature as a printing-press. But apart from the composition and printing, which concern the printing-press, that is, setting up the type in a specific order, the substances that form an animate being's body, the creation of which is a hundred times more difficult than that of the composition and ordering, must be created in specific proportions and particular order, brought from the furthest corners of the cosmos, and placed in the hands of the printing-press. But in order to do all these things, there is still need for the power
  1. 246

and will of the Absolutely Powerful One, Who creates the printing-press. That is to say, this hypothesis of the printing-press is a totally meaningless superstition.

 Thus, like these comparisons of the clock and the book, the All-Glorious Maker, Who is powerful over all things, has created causes, and so too does He create the effects. Through His wisdom, He ties the effect to the cause. Through His will, He has determined a manifestation of the Greater Shari'a, the Shari'a of Creation, which consists of the Divine laws concerning the ordering of all motion in the universe, and determined the nature of beings, which is only to be a mirror to that manifestation in things, and to be a reflection of it. And through His power, He has created the face of that nature which has received external existence, and has created things on that nature, and has mixed them one with the other.
 Is it easier to accept this fact, which is the conclusion of innumerable most rational proofs-in fact, is one not compelled to accept it?-or is it easier to get the physical beings that you call causes and Nature, which are lifeless, unconscious, created, fashioned and simple, to provide the numberless tools and equipment necessary for the existence of each thing and to carry out those matters, which are performed wisely and discerningly? Is that not utterly beyond the bounds of possibility? We leave it to you to decide, with your unreasonable mind!
 The unbelieving Nature-worshipper replied: "Since you are asking me to be fair and reasonable, I have to confess that the mistaken way I have followed up to now is both a compounded impossibility, and extremely harmful and ugly. Anyone with even a grain of consciousness would understand from your analyses above that to attribute the act of creation to causes and Nature is precluded and impossible, and that to attribute all things directly to the Necessarily Existent One is imperative and necessary. I say: 'ALL PRAISE BE TO GOD FOR BELIEF,' and I believe in Him. Only, I do have one doubt:
 "I believe that Almighty God is the Creator, but what harm does it do to the sovereignty of His dominicality if some minor causes have a hand in the creation of insignificant matters and thereby gain for themselves a little praise and acclaim? Does it diminish His sovereignty in some way?"
 T h e A n s w e r : As we have conclusively proved in other parts of the Risale-i Nur, the mark of rulership is that it rejects interference. The most insignficant ruler or official will not tolerate the interference of his own son, even, within the sphere of his rule. The fact that, despite being Caliph, certain devout Sultans had their innocent sons murdered on the unfounded apprehension that the sons would interfere in their rule
  1. 247

demonstrates how fundamental is this 'law of the rejection of interference' in rulership. And the 'law of prevention of participation,' which the independence intrinsic to rulership necessitates, has shown its strength in the history of mankind through extraordinary upheavals whenever there have been two governors in a town or two kings in a country.

 Thus, if the sense of rulership and sovereignty, which is a mere shadow in human beings, who are impotent and in need of assistance, rejects interference to this degree, prevents the intervention of others, does not accept participation in its sovereignty, and seeks to preserve the independence of its position so jealously, then, if you can, compare this with an All-Glorious One Whose absolute sovereignty is at the degree of dominicality, Whose absolute rulership at the degree of Divinity, absolute independence at the degree of Oneness, and absolute lack of need at the degree of absolute power, and understand what a necessary requirement and inevitable necessity of that rulership is this rejection of interference, prevention of participation, and repulsion of partners.
 Concerning the second part of your doubt, you said: "If some of the worship of some insignificant beings is directed towards certain causes, what deficiency does this cause to the worship of all beings, from particles to planets, which is directed towards the Necessarily Existent One, the Absolute Object of All Worship?"
 T h e A n s w e r : The All-Wise Creator of the universe made the universe like a tree with conscious beings as its most perfect fruit, and among conscious beings He made man its most comprehensive fruit. And man's most important fruit, indeed the result of his creation, the aim of his nature, and the fruit of his life are his thanks and worship. Would that Absolute Sovereign and Independent Ruler, that Single One of Unity, Who creates the universe in order to make Himself known and loved, give away to others man, the fruit of the whole universe, and man's thanks and worship, his most elevated fruit? Totally contrary to His wisdom, would He make vain and futile the result of creation and fruit of the universe? God forbid! Would He be content to give away the worship of creatures to others in a way that would deny His wisdom and His dominicality? And although He demonstrates through His actions that He wishes to make Himself known and loved to an unlimited degree, would he cause His most perfect creatures to forget Him by handing over to causes their thanks and gratitude, love and worship, and cause them to deny the exalted purposes in the universe?
 O friend who has given up the worship of Nature! Now it is for you to say! To which he replied:
  1. 248

"All praise be to God, these two doubts of mine have now been resolved. And your two proofs concerning Divine Unity which demonstrate that the only True Object of Worship is He, and that nothing other than He is worthy of worship are so brilliant and powerful that to deny them would require as much arrogance as to deny the sun and the day."

 The person who gave up atheistic Naturalism and came to believe said: "All praise be to God, I no longer have any doubts, but there are still a few questions about which I am curious."
 "We hear many lazy people and those who neglect the five daily prayers ask: 'What need has God Almighty of our worship that in the Qur'an He severely and insistently reproves those who give up worship and threatens them with such a fearsome punishment as Hell? How is it in keeping with the style of the Qur'an, which is moderate, mild and fair, to demonstrate the ultimate severity towards an insignificant, minor fault?"
 T h e A n s w e r : God Almighty has no need of your worship, nor indeed of anything else. It is you who needs to worship, for in truth you are sick. As we have proved in many parts of the Risale-i Nur, worship is a sort of remedy for your spiritual wounds. If someone who is ill responds to a compassionate doctor who insists on his taking medicines that are beneficial for his condition by saying: "What need do you have of it that you are insisting in this way?", you can understand how absurd it would be.
 As for the severe threats and fearsome punishments in the Qur'an concerning the giving up of worship, they may be likened to a king, who, in order to protect his subject' rights, inflicts a severe punishment on an ordinary man in accordance with the degree that his crime infringes those rights.
 In the same way, the man who gives up worship and ritual prayer is violating in a significant manner the rights of beings, who are like the subjects of the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, and is in fact acting unjustly towards them. For the perfections of beings are manifested through the glorification and worship performed by that aspect of them which is directed towards their Maker. The one who abandons worship does not and cannot see this worship. Indeed, he denies it. Furthermore, beings occupy an exalted position by reason of their worship and glorification, and each is a missive of the Eternally Besought One, and a
  1. 249

mirror to the Names of its Sustainer. Since he reduces them from their high positions and considers them to be unimportant, lifeless, aimless, and without duties, he is insulting them, and denying and transgressing their perfections.

 Indeed, everyone sees the world in his own mirror. God Almighty created man as a measure and scale for the universe. And from the world He gave a particular world to each person. This world He colours for him in accordance with his sincere beliefs. For example, a despairing, lamenting, weeping person sees beings as weeping and in despair, while a cheerful, optimistic, merry person sees the universe as joyful and smiling. A reflective man given to solemn worship and glorification discovers and sees to a degree the certain, truly existent worship and glorification of beings, while a person who abandons worship through either neglect or denial sees beings in a manner totally contrary and opposed to the reality of their perfections, thus transgressing their rights.
 Furthermore, since the one who gives up prayer does not own himself, he wrongs his own soul, which is a slave of its True Owner. His Owner delivers awesome threats in order to protect His slave's rights from his evil-commanding soul. Also, since he has given up worship, which is the result of his creation and the aim of his nature, it is like an act of aggression against Divine wisdom and dominical will, and he therefore receives punishment.
 I n S h o r t : The abandoner of worship both wrongs his own soul, which is the slave and totally owned property of Almighty God, and wrongs and transgresses the rights of the perfections of the universe. Certainly, just as unbelief is an insult to beings, so is the abandonment of worship a denial of the universe's perfections. And since it is an act of aggression against Divine wisdom, it is deserving of awesome threats, and severe punishment.
 Thus, it is to express this deservedness and the above facts that the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition chooses in a miraculous way that severe style, which, in complete conformity with the principles of eloquence, corresponds to the requirements of the situation.
 The person who had given up Naturalism and come to believe next asked:
 "It is indeed a vast truth that each being is dependent on Divine will and dominical power in every aspect; in all of its functions, qualities and actions. By reason of this vastness, our narrow minds cannot
  1. 250

comprehend it. However, the infinite abundance that we see around us, and the boundless ease in the creation and formation of things, and the infinite ease and facility in the way of unity, which was established through your proofs above, and the infinite ease that verses of the Qur'an like the following clearly demonstrate and expound,

 Your creation and resurrection is as a single soul,5
 The matter of the Hour shall be but as the twinkling of the eye, or even closer6
 show this mighty truth to be a matter that is most acceptable and rational. What is the wisdom and secret of this ease?"
 T h e A n s w e r : This matter was elucidated in a most clear, decisive and convincing fashion in the explanation of,
 And He is powerful over all things,
 which forms the Tenth Phrase of the Twentieth Letter. In particular, it was demonstrated even more clearly in the Addendum to that Letter that when attributed to the Single Maker, all beings become as easy as a single being. If they are not attributed to that Single One of Unity, the creation of a single creature becomes as difficult as that of all beings, and a seed as problematical as a tree. When they are ascribed to their True Maker, the universe becomes as easy and trouble-free as a tree, a tree as easy as a seed, Paradise as easy as the spring, and the spring as easy as a flower. We shall now point out briefly one or two evidences that have been explained in detail in other parts of the Risale-i Nur out of the hundreds which explain the underlying reasons for and instances of wisdom in the conspicuous, boundless abundance and profusion of beings, the ease of the great number of individuals in each species, and the fact that well-ordered, artistically fashioned and valuable beings come into existence with immense speed and ease.
 For example, if the command of a hundred soldiers is given to one officer, it is a hundred times easier than if the command of one soldier is given to a hundred officers. And if to equip an army it is assigned to one headquarters, one law, one factory and the command of one king, it quite simply becomes as easy as equipping a single soldier. In the same way, if to equip one soldier it is referred to numerous headquarters, numerous factories and numerous commanders, it becomes as difficult as equipping an army. Because in order to equip a single soldier, it would require as many factories as are necessary for a whole army.
 5. Qur'an, 31:28.
 6. Qur'an, 16:77.
  1. 251
 Again, since by reason of the mystery of unity, the vital necessities of a tree are provided through one root, one centre and according to one law, it produces thousands of fruits as easily as a single fruit. This is plain to see. If unity changes to multiplicity, and all the necessities vital for each fruit are provided from different places, to produce each fruit becomes as difficult as to produce the tree. And to produce a single seed, even, which is a sample and index of the tree, becomes as difficult as the tree. Because all the necessities vital for the tree's life are necessary for the seed.
 Thus, there are hundreds of examples like these which show that it is easier for thousands of beings to come into existence through unity than for a single being to come into existence through multiplicity and ascribing partners to God. Since this truth has been proved with absolute certainty in other parts of the Risale-i Nur, we refer you to those and here only explain a most important reason for this ease and facility from the point of view of Divine knowledge, Divine Determining, and dominical power. It is as follows:
 You are a being. If you attribute yourself to the Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One, He creates you at a command through His infinite power out of nothing in an instant, like striking a match. If you do not do this and rather attribute yourself to physical causes and nature, then since you are a well-ordered summary, fruit, and miniature index and list of the universe, in order to make you, it would be necessary to sift with a fine sieve the universe and its elements, and to gather in precise measure from all the corners of the universe the substances of which your body is composed. For physical causes only gather and join together. It is confirmed by people of reason that they cannot create out of nothing what is not present in them. Since this is the case, they would be compelled to collect together the body of a tiny animate being from every corner of the cosmos. 
 Now understand what ease there is in unity, Divine Unity, and what difficulties lie in misguidance and attributing partners to God!
 Secondly, there is an infinite ease also with regard to Divine knowledge. It is like this: Divine Determining is an aspect of Divine knowledge; it determines a measure for each thing, which is like its particular and immaterial mould; the determined measure is like a plan or model for the thing's being. When Divine power creates, it does so with extreme ease in accordance with the determined measure. If the thing is not attributed to the All-Powerful One of Glory, Who possesses all-embracing, infinite and pre-eternal knowledge, as was described above, not only thousands of difficulties appear, but hundreds of impossibilities. For if it
  1. 252

was not for the determined measure which exists in Divine knowledge, thousands of material moulds with external existences would have to be employed in the body of even a tiny animate being.

 So, understand one reason for the infinite ease in unity and the endless difficulties in misguidance and ascribing partners to God. Realize what a veracious, correct, and exalted truth is stated by the verse,
 The matter of the Hour shall be but as the twinkling of the eye, or even closer.
 The former enemy and now rightly-guided friend then asked: "Philosophers, who have made many advances these days, claim that nothing is created out of nothing, and nothing is annihilated and goes to nothing; there is only compostion and decomposition, and this makes the factory of the universe run. Is this correct?"
 T h e A n s w e r : Since the most advanced philosophers who did not consider beings in the light of the Qur'an saw that the formation and existence of beings by means of Nature and causes was so difficult as to be impossible -in the manner proved above-, they diverged into two groups. 
 One group became Sophists; abdicating reason, which is exclusive to human beings, and falling lower than mindless beasts, they found it easier to deny the universe's existence, and even their own existences, than to follow the way of misguidance, which claims that causes and Nature have the power to create. They therefore denied both themselves and the universe and descended into absolute ignorance.
 The second group saw that in misguidance, according to which causes and Nature are creator, the creation of a fly or a seed, even, entails innumerable difficulties and requires a power unacceptable to reason. They were therefore compelled to deny the act of creation and to say: "Nothing can exist out of nothing." Seeing total annihiliation also to be impossible, they declared: "What exists cannot go to nothing." They fancied an imaginary situation in which combining and decomposition, gathering and dispersion, occur through the motion of particles and the winds of chance.
 Now, see! Those who consider themselves to be the most intelligent are the most profoundly ignorant and stupid. Understand just how ludicrous, debased, and ignorant misguidance makes man, and take a lesson!
  1. 253
 Indeed, a Pre-Eternal Power created the heavens and the earth in six days, every year creates four hundred thousand species simultaneously on the face of the earth, and in six weeks every spring constructs a living world more full of art and wisdom than the world itself. Thus, it is more foolish and ignorant than the Sophists, the first group above, to deny the act of creation and deem it unlikely that, like a chemical that when applied shows up invisible writing, Pre-Eternal Power should give external existence to beings, which, though externally non-existent, exist as knowledge, and whose plans and measures are determined in the realm of a Pre-Eternal Knowledge.
 These unfortunates are absolutely impotent and have nothing at their disposal apart from the faculty of will. Although they are inflated like Pharaohs, they can neither annihilate anything nor create anything from nothing, even a minute particle. And so, although nothing comes into existence out of nothing at the hand of causes and Nature on which they rely, out of their stupidity they say: "Nothing comes from non-being, and nothing goes to non-being." And they even extend this absurd and erroneous principle to the Absolutely All-Powerful One.
 Indeed, the All-Powerful One of Glory has two ways of creating: 
 The First is through origination and invention. That is, He brings a being into existence out of nothing, out of non-existence, and creates everything necessary for it, also out of nothing, and places those necessities in its hand.
 The Second is through composition, through art. That is, He forms certain beings out of the elements of the universe in order to demonstrate subtle instances of wisdom, like displaying the perfections of His wisdom and the manifestations of many of His Names. Through the law of Providing, he sends particles and matter, which are dependent on His command, to these beings and employs the particles in them.
 Yes, the Absolutely All-Powerful One creates in two ways: He both originates, and He composes. To annihilate what exists and to make exist what does not exist is most simple and easy for Him. It is one of His constant and universal laws. The man, therefore, who says: "He cannot give existence to what does not exist" in the face of a power that in one spring makes exist out of nothing the forms and attributes of three hundred thousand animate creatures, and, besides their particles, all their conditions and states, such a man should himself be obliterated!
  1. 254
 The person who gave up Nature and embraced the truth said: "Praise and thanks be to God Almighty to the number of particles in existence for I have attained to complete belief. I have been saved from delusion and misguidance. Not one of my doubts remains.
 All glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.7 
 * * *
 7. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 255


 On Islamic Dress for Women
 [While being the Second and Third Matters of the Fifteenth Note, this treatise was made the Twenty-Fourth Flash because of its importance.]
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons [when abroad] [to the end of the verse].1
 This verse enjoins the veiling of women. However, dissolute civilization opposes this command of the Qur'an; it does not consider the veiling of women to be natural and says it is slavery of a sort.2
 T h e A n s w e r : We shall explain only four of the many instances of wisdom in this injunction of the Qur'an, showing that it is entirely natural and those who oppose it are opposing the innate disposition of women.
 1. Qur'an, 33:59.
 2. Part of my defence for the Appeal Court, which opposed the [Eskishehir] Court and silenced it: "I say to this court of law that if there is justice on the face of the earth, it will surely quash the decision to convict a person who has expounded a most sacred, true, and right Divine principle which has been in force in the social life of three hundred and fifty million people every century for one thousand three hundred and fifty years, relying on the confirmation and unanimity of three hundred and fifty thousand Qur'anic commentaries and following the beliefs of our forefathers for one thousand three hundred and fifty years; it will surely quash such a ruling!"
  1. 256
 To veil themselves is natural for women and their innate dispositions demand it. For women are weak and delicate, and since they are in need of a man's protection and help for themselves and for their children whom they love more than their own lives, they have a natural desire to make themselves loved and not loathed, and not to be rebuffed.
 Also, seven out of ten women are either old or ugly, and they do not want to show their age and ugliness to everyone. Or they are jealous, and they do not want to appear ugly in relation to others who are more beautiful. Or they are frightened of assault or aspersions, and want by nature to cover themselves so as not to suffer assault, nor to be accused of unfaithfulness in the eyes of their husbands. If noted carefully, those who hide themselves most are the elderly. And out of ten women, only two or three may be found who are both young and beautiful and are not discomforted at displaying themselves.
 It is clear that people are discomforted by the looks of those they do not like or find tedious; they are upset by them. If a beautiful immodestly dressed woman takes pleasure at two or three out of ten men who are canonically strangers looking at her, she is bored by the seven or eight. Also, since a woman whose morals are not corrupted is sensitive and easily affected, she will certainly be distressed at dirty looks whose effects have been physically experienced, indeed, are poisonous. We even hear that in Europe, the place of open dress, many women are fed up at being the object of attention, and complain to the police, saying: "These brutes keep staring at us and disturbing us." This means that present-day civilization's unveiling women is contrary to their natures. And together with being in accordance with their natures, the Qur'an's command to veil themselves, saves women-those mines of compassion who may be worthy companions for all eternity-from degeneration, abasement, what is in effect slavery, and wretchedness.
 Furthermore, by nature women are fearful of men who are strangers, and anxious at them. Fear naturally demands the veiling of women. For in addition to suffering the difficulty of bearing the load of a child for eight or nine months, which certainly embitters the eight or nine minutes' pleasure, there is also the possibility of suffering the calamity of bringing up a child for eight or nine years without protector. And since this happens frequently, by creation they truly fear strange men and by nature want to hide themselves from them. Being weak, their creation demands that through veiling themselves they do not excite the appetites of men outside the stipulated degrees of kinship, nor allow any opportunity for
  1. 257

assault; their weak creation gives powerful warning. It shows that their cloaks and coats are shields and fortresses. The fact that, according to news received, the bare-legged wife of a high-ranking man in the world was accosted in the country's capital, in the market-place in daylight in front of everyone by a common shoe-shiner, deals a slap in the shameless faces of those opposed to the veiling of women!

 The authentic and extremely intense relationship, love, and affection between men and women does not arise only from the needs of worldly life. Yes, a woman is not only a companion to her husband in this worldly life, she is his companion also in eternal life. Since she is her husband's companion in eternal life, she surely should not attract the looks of others besides her husband, her everlasting friend and companion, and should not offend him and make him jealous. As a consequence of the mystery of belief, her believing husband's relations with her are not confined to this worldly life and his love is not only animal and temporary, during the time of her beauty; he holds true, earnest love and respect for her in regard to her being his companion in eternal life. And he bears that love and respect for her, not only during her youth when she is beautiful, but also when she is old and ugly. Certainly in return for this, she should show her beauties to him alone and restrict her love to him; this is demanded by humanity. Otherwise she would gain very little and lose much.
 According to the Shari'a, the husband should be a good match for the wife. That is, they should be suitable to one another. The most important aspect of this being suitable is from the point of view of religion.
 Happy the husband who sees the wife's firm religion and follows her, and himself becomes pious in order not to lose his companion of eternal life.
 Happy the wife who sees her husband's firmness in religion and becomes pious so as not to lose her eternal friend.
 Alas for the man who becomes dissolute, which will lose him for ever that righteous woman.
 Alas for the woman who does not follow her pious husband and loses her eternal blessed friend.
 And a thousand woes on the unhappy husband and wife who imitate each other in sin and vice, helping one another to enter Hell-fire!
  1. 258
 Happy family life is perpetuated through mutual confidence between husband and wife, and heartfelt respect and love. Immodest dress and free-and-easy behaviour destroy the confidence, and spoil the mutual respect and love. For out of ten women who favour immodest dress only one will not try to make herself liked by strangers because she does not find other men more attractive than her husband. Nine out of ten will find others better than their husbands. And only one out of twenty men will not find other women more attractive. Then besides the true love and mutual respect disappearing, it may arouse extremely ugly and base feelings, as follows:
 By nature, men do not feel any lust towards those within the stipulated degrees of kinship like their sisters, because, since such relatives' faces induce kindness and licit love due to their close kinship, it nullifies any sexual or lusty inclinations. But to leave uncovered parts of the body which according to the Shari'a it is not permissible to expose to close relatives like the legs, may give rise to the awakening of extremely ugly feelings in men of low character. Because the face of a close relative reminds the man of that close kinship and does not resemble the face of someone outside the degrees of kinship, but a bare leg is the same as that of canonical strangers. Since the leg does bear any distinguishing mark to recall the close kinship of its owner, it is possibile it will arouse carnal feelings in the man. And to look on things such as that is a degenerateness that makes one's hair stand on end.
 It is clear that everyone wants lots of children. There is no nation or government that does not support increase in population. In fact, the Most Noble Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Marry and increase, for at the Last Day I shall take pride in your large numbers."3 However, the abandoning of Islamic dress for women does not increase marriage, it decreases it greatly. Because even the most lay-about and modern youth wants his wife to be chaste. He does not want her to be modern, that is, careless in questions of dress and morals like himself, and so remains single, and even frequents prostitutes.
 Women are not like that, they cannot restrict their husbands' behaviour to that extent. The most basic characteristic of women is loyalty and confidence-since being the director of all the matters to do with the
 3. al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir iii, 269 no: 3366; al-Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa 1021; Suyuti, Jami'u's-Saghir no:3366.
  1. 259

home, the woman is charged with protecting and preserving all her husband's property and possessions, and his children. Carelessness in dress and morality destroys that loyalty, her husband too loses confidence in her and makes her suffer pangs of conscience. In fact, if the two qualities of courage and generosity, which are desirable in men, are found in women, it damages this loyalty and confidence, and so are undesirable for women and are considered to be bad qualities. But since the husband's duty is not loyalty and stewardship, but protection, kindness, and respect, he cannot be restricted and refined, and may marry other women as well.

 Our country cannot be compared with Europe, because there honour may be preserved to a degree by violent means such as the duel, despite immodest dress. A person who makes eyes at the wife of a self-respecting man takes his life in his hands, and then looks. Also the people of Europe are cold and frigid, like the climate. Asia, that is, the lands of Islam, are relatively torrid countries. It is well-known that the environment has an effect on people's morality. Perhaps in those cold countries immodest dress does not stimulate the animal appetites and carnal desires of those cold people, and be a means of abuse. But immodest dress which continually excites the carnal lusts of the easily influenced and sensitive people of hot countries is certainly the cause of much abuse and waste and the weakening of the young generation and a loss of strength. Instead of answering natural needs one a month or every three weeks or so, a person considers it necessary every few days. And then, since he is obliged to avoid his wife for perhaps two weeks out of every month due to contingencies like her monthly period, if he is defeated by his appetites, he will incline to houses of ill-fame.
 The veiling of women may not be abolished on the pretext of the women of small towns and villages and nomad women, for innocent working-women and somewhat coarse women being partially unveilled due to their working to secure their livelihoods and their physical, wearying labour does not excite carnal desires. Moreover, since idle, lay-about men are few, not even one in ten of the immoral men of the large towns can be found among them. Such a comparison should not therefore be made.
 * * *
  1. 260
 In His Name, be He glorified!
 A Conversation with the Women, My Believing Sisters of the Hereafter
 At the time I returned to blessed Isparta, which bears the meaning of the Medresetü'z-Zehra,1 for the third time, I had seen the sincere and enthusiastic interest shown by women towards the Risale-i Nur in some other provinces, and had realized that in a way far exceeding my due they had confidence in my instruction in it. I heard then that the women in Isparta, my blessed sisters of the Hereafter, were waiting to receive instruction from me, as though I was going to instruct them in mosques in the manner of preaching. I was ill with five or so different illnesses, in a wretched state, not even having the strength to speak and think, yet that night the following was imparted to my heart, impellingly: "Fifteen years ago you wrote 'A Guide for Youth' at the request of some youths and it was a source of benefit for many. Women, however, are in even greater need of a guide at this time." Despite my extreme weakness, wretchedness, and powerlessness, in the face of this warning, I wrote very concisely in three Points a number of necessary matters which I now explain to my blessed sisters and young spiritual offspring.
 Since one of the most basic principles of the Risale-i Nur is compassion and women are champions of compassion, they are by nature more closely connected with the Risale-i Nur than others. Praise be to God, this natural sympathy is felt in many places. The self-sacrifice within this compassion wants nothing in return and expresses true sincerity, and so is of the greatest importance at this time. 
 Yes, the fact that wanting nothing in return, a mother will sacrifice her life to save her young from danger, as the demand of her nature and with true sincerity, shows that women are capable of great heroism. Through developing this heroism, they may save their lives both in this world and in the Hereafter by means of it. However, this important attribute does not unfold under the influence of certain bad currents of thought. Or else it is exploited. A small example out of hundreds is as follows:
 A compassionate mother undertakes every sort of self-sacrifice so that her child should not fall into danger in this worldly life and should rreceive
 1. For the Medresetü'z-Zehra, See note 33, page 328.
  1. 261

every sort of benefit and advantage; she brings him up with this in view. Thinking, "My son is going to be a Pasha," she gives him all her property, takes him from the Qur'an school and sends him to Europe. But it does not occur to her that her child's eternal life has fallen into danger. She tries to save him from prison in this world, and does not take into consideration his being sentenced to the prison of Hell. And as the complete opposite of innate compassion, she makes her innocent child a claimant against her in the Hereafter, while he should be her intercessor. He will complain to her saying: "Why did you not strengthen my belief and so cause me to be lost?" And in this world too, since he did not receive a proper Islamic upbringing, he cannot respond to his mother's wondrous compassion in the way it deserves; in fact he does so very deficiently.

 If, not misdirecting her true compassion, she works to save her unhappy child from the everlasting incarceration of Hell and from dying while in misguidance, which is to go to eternal extinction, the equivalent of each of the child's good works will pass to the book of good deeds of his mother, and just as after her death he will continuously send lights to her spirit with his good works, so too in the Hereafter, he will be not a claimant, but with all his spirit and life an intercessor for her, and a blessed child of her's for all eternity.
 Yes, man's first master and most influential teacher is his mother. In connection with this, I shall explain the following to you, which I have always felt strongly in my own self:
 I am eighty years old and have received lessons from eighty thousand people. Yet I swear that the truest and most unshakeable lessons I have received are those inculcated in me by my late mother, which have always remained fresh for me. They have been planted in my nature as though they were seeds planted in my physical being. I observe that other instruction I have received has been constructed on those seeds. That is to say, the lessons instilled in my nature and spirit by my mother when I was one year old I now see at the age of eighty to be each fundamental seeds amid great truths.
 For instance, I consider it certain that I learnt to be compassionate, which is the most important of the four principles of my way, and to be kind and clement, which is the greatest truth of the Risale-i Nur, from the compassionate behaviour and acts of my mother and from her teaching. Yes, the compassion of motherhood bears true sincerity and true self-sacrifice, but not thinking of the Hereafter-a treasury of diamonds for her innocent child-and to turn his face towards this world, which is like temporary, transient fragments of glass, and to be kind to him in that way, is to misuse that compassion.
  1. 262
 A proof of this heroism of women in regard to compassion, which wants absolutely no recompense and nothing in return, and of their sacrificing their very spirits, which bears no meaning of personal benefit and no show, is that a hen, which bears a tiny sample of that compassion, will attack a lion and sacrifice its life for its chicks.
 Now, the most valuable and most essential principle in Islamic training and deeds pertaining to the Hereafter, is sincerity. Such true sincerity is to be found in the heroism of this kind of compassion. If these two points begin to develop among women, it will be the means to considerable happiness within the World of Islam. When it comes to the heroism of men, it can never be for nothing; they always want recompense in perhaps a hundred ways. At the very least they want glory and renown. But regretably, unfortunate women practise hypocrisy in another form in order to be saved from the evil and oppression of tyrannical men; this sort arises from weakness and impotence.
 This year, despite having withdrawn from the life of society and being in seclusion, I looked at the world for the sake of some of my brothers and sisters who were Risale-i Nur students. From most of the friends who visited me I heard complaints about their family lives. "Alas!", I said, "The refuge of people, and particularly of Muslims, and a sort of Paradise, and a small world, is family life. Has this started to break up as well now?" I sought the reason, and I understood that one or two covert groups were working to mislead youth and drive the young to vice by means of their appetites, in order to cause harm to the social life of Islam, and thereby to the religion of Islam. I also realized that one or two groups were working covertly and effectively to drive neglectful women down the wrong road. I understood too that a severe blow would be dealt to this Muslim nation from that quarter. And so I categorically state the following to you my sisters and spiritual children:
 The sole means of saving women's happiness in the Hereafter, and their happiness in this world, as well as saving their elevated innate qualities from corruption, is the training given by the religion of Islam; there is no other means. You hear about the situation into which the unfortunate women of Russia have fallen. It says in one part of the Risale-i Nur that no man of sense builds love and affection for his wife on her fleeting, superficial beauty of five to ten years. He should build his love on her fine conduct, the most permanent and best of beauty, which is particular to womanhood and its compassion. In that way, when the unfortunate advances in years, her husband's love for her will persist. For his wife is
  1. 263

not merely a temporary helper and companion in this worldly life, but an eternal, lovable companion for everlasting life, so the older they grow they should increase also in love for each other, and compassion, and respect. Family life now, which, under the guise of culture and civilization is a temporary animal relationship followed by eternal separation, is being destroyed at its very foundations.

 In another place in the Risale-i Nur it says: "Happy the man who in order not to lose his companion of eternity, copies his righteous wife and so becomes righteous himself. And happy the woman who, seeing her husband to be pious, adheres to religion herself so as not to lose her everlasting friend and companion. Unhappy the man who follows his wife in sin, does not try to make her give it up, but joins her. And unhappy the woman who, seeing her husband's sinfulness, follows him in another way. And alas for the wife and husband who assist one another in throwing each other into the Fire. That is, who encourage one another to embrace the evils of civilization."
 The meaning of these lines from the Risale-i Nur is this: at this time, the only means of developing family life and finding happiness in this world and the Hereafter, and causing the elevated qualities of women to unfold, is Islamic conduct within the bounds of the Shari'a. Now, the most important point in family life is this, that if the woman sees bad conduct and disloyalty in her husband, and to spite her husband, stints in her loyalty and faithfulness to him, her duty as far as the family is concerned, then the factory of that family life will be thrown into confusion, exactly like discipline in the army being spoilt. The woman should rather try to reform her husband's faults as far as she can in order to save her companion of eternity. If she starts to show herself to others by unveiling herself and tries to make herself attractive to others, it is harmful in every respect. For a woman who gives up complete loyalty pays the penalty in this world too. Because it is her nature to be fearful and upset at the looks of those canonically strangers to her, and to avoid them. She is discomforted at the looks of eighteen out of twenty strangers. As for men, they are discomforted and upset at the looks of only one out of a hundred women who are canonically strangers to them. The woman suffers torment in that respect, and so too may be accused of disloyalty, and due to her weakness, will be unable to protect her rights.
 I n S h o r t : Just as in respect of compassion women do not resemble men in heroism and sincerity, and men cannot compare with them in that regard, so too innocent women can in no way compare with men in vice. For this reason by their natures and weakness, they are truly frightened of strangers and consider themselves compelled to conceal
  1. 264

themselves beneath their abundant outer garments. Because, if for eight minutes' pleasure a man commits sin, he only suffers a loss of eight liras. But as the penalty of the pleasure of eight minutes' sin, in this world too the woman bears a heavy load for eight months and then has the hardship of rearing the unprotected child for eight years. She therefore cannot compete with men in vice and pays a penalty a hundred times greater.

 The not infrequent incidents of this sort show that just as by nature women are the source of elevated morals, so do they virtually lack the capacity for worldly pleasure in vice and dissipation. That is to say, they are a type of blessed creature created to pass happy lives in the family within the bounds laid down by Islam. God damn those covert groups who are corrupting these blessed creatures! And may Almighty God preserve my sisters from the evil of such dissolute wretches.
 My sisters! I have this to say to you confidentially: rather than entering under the domination of a dissolute, immoral, Westernized husband due to straitened circumstances, try to economize and obtain your own livelihood like innocent peasant women with the frugality and contentment which is in your natures; do not try to sell yourselves. If it is your fate to have a husband who is unsuitable for you, be content with your fate and resigned to it. God willing, he will be reformed through your contentment and resignation. But to apply to the courts for a divorce, which I have heard of recently; that is not in keeping with the honour of Islam and this nation's good name!
 My dear sisters, you should be certain that as is demonstrated with powerful proofs and examples in the Risale-i Nur, present in pleasures and enjoyment outside the bounds of the licit are pains and distress ten times greater. You may find detailed expositions of this in the Risale-i Nur. For instance, the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Words from The Short Words and A Guide For Youth will show this truth to you completely in place of me. In which case, make do with licit pleasures and be content with them. Innocent conversation with your innocent children in your home is more pleasurable than a hundred cinemas.
 You should also know certainly that true pleasure in the life of this world lies in belief and the sphere of belief. And there is an immaterial pleasure to be found in all good works. The Risale-i Nur has proved with hundreds of decisive evidences that even in this world most bitter and grievous suffering is present in vice and misguidance. I myself have experienced on numerous occasions as certainly as seeing it with my own eyes that present in belief is a seed of Paradise while in vice and misguidance
  1. 265

is a seed of Hell. This truth is repeated many times in the Risale-i Nur. Although the Risale-i Nur has come into the hands of those who oppose it most obstinately and severely, they have been unable to refute this truth; neither have the 'committees of experts' and the courts been able to refute it. Now, my blessed and innocent sisters and your children who are like my spiritual children, foremost the Treatise On Islamic Dress, and A Guide For Youth, and The Short Words should teach you in my place.

 I have heard that you want me to teach you in the mosque. But my wretched condition and my illness and many other reasons do not permit it. I have decided to include all my sisters who read and accept this instruction which I have written for you in all my prayers and spiritual gains, like all the students of the Risale-i Nur. If you obtain and read part of the Risale-i Nur in my place, or listen to it, then in accordance with my rule you will also have a share in the prayers and spiritual gains of all the Risale-i Nur students, your brothers.
 I was going to write more now, but I am very ill and very weak and very old and have many duties like correcting copies of the Risale-i Nur, so for now I have sufficed with this much.
 The Eternal One, He is the Eternal One!
 Your brother who is in need of your prayers,
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
  1. 266


 Message for the Sick
 [This treatise consists of Twenty-Five Remedies. It was written as a salve, a solace, and a prescription for the sick, and as a visit to the sick and a wish for their speedy recovery.]
 Warning and Apology
 This immaterial prescription was written with a speed greater than all my other writings,1 and since time could not be found in which to correct and study it, unlike all the others, it was read only once-and that at great speed like its composition. That is to say, it has remained in the disordered state of a first draft. I did not consider it necessary to go over carefully the things which had occurred to me in a natural manner, lest they be spoilt by arranging them and paying them undue attention. Readers and especially the sick should not feel upset and offended at any disagreeable expressions or harsh words and phrases; let them rather pray for me.
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Those who say when afflicted by calamity: "To God do we belong and to Him is our return."2 * Who gives me food and drink * And when I am ill it is He Who cures me.3
 In this Flash, we describe briefly Twenty-Five Remedies which may offer true consolation and a beneficial cure for the sick and those struck by disaster, who form one tenth of mankind.
 1. This treatise was written in four and a half hours. Signed, Rüshtü, Re'fet, Husrev, Said.
 2. Qur'an, 2:156.
 3. Qur'an, 26:79-80.
  1. 267
 Unhappy sick person! Do not be anxious, have patience! Your illness is not a malady for you; it is a sort of cure. For life departs like capital. If it yields no fruits, it is wasted. And if it passes in ease and heedlessness, it passes most swiftly. Illness makes that capital of yours yield huge profits. Moreover, it does not allow your life to pass quickly, it restrains it and lengthens it, so that it will depart after yielding its fruits. An indication that your life is lengthened through illness is the following much repeated proverb: "The times of calamity are long, the times of happiness, most short."
 O ill person who lacks patience! Be patient, indeed, offer thanks! Your illness may transform each of the minutes of your life into the equivalent of an hour's worship. For worship is of two kinds. One is positive like the well-known worship of supplication and the five daily prayers. The other are negative forms of worship like illness and calamities. By means of these, those afflicted realize their impotence and weakness; they beseech their All-Compassionate Creator and take refuge in Him; they manifest worship which is sincere and without hyprocrisy. Yes, there is a sound narration stating that a life passed in illness is counted as worship for the believer-on condition he does not complain about God.4 It is even established by sound narrations and by those who uncover the realities of creation that one minute's illness of some who are completely patient and thankful becomes the equivalent of an hour's worship and a minute's illness of certain perfected men the equivalent of a day's worship. Thus, you should not complain about an illness which as though transforms one minute of your life into a thousand minutes and gains for you long life; you should rather offer thanks.
 Impatient sick person! The fact that those who come to this world continuously depart, and the young grow old, and man perpetually revolves amid death and separation testifies that he did not come to this world to enjoy himself and receive pleasure. 
 Moreover, while man is the most perfect, the most elevated, of living beings and the best endowed in regard to members and faculties, through thinking of past pleasures and future pains, he passes only a grievous, troublesome life, lower than the animals. This means that man did not come to this world in order to live in fine manner and pass his life in ease
 4. al-Albani, Sahihu Jami'i's-Saghir 256.
  1. 268

and pleasure. Rather, possessing vast capital, he came here to work and do trade for an eternal, everlasting life.

 The capital given to man is his lifetime. Had there been no illness, good health and well-being would have caused heedlessness, for they show the world to be pleasant and make the Hereafter forgotten. They do not want death and the grave to be thought of; they cause the capital of life to be wasted on trifles. Whereas illness suddenly opens the eyes, it says to the body: "You are not immortal. You have not been left to your own devices. You have a duty. Give up your pride, think of the One Who created you. Know that you will enter the grave, so prepare yourself for it!" Thus, from this point of view, illness is an admonishing guide and advisor that never deceives. It should not be complained about in this respect, indeed, should be thanked for. And if it is not too severe, patience should be sought to endure it.
 Plaintive ill person! It is your right, not to complain, but to offer thanks and be patient. For your body and members and faculties are not your property. You did not make them, and you did not buy them from other workshops. That means they are the property of another. Their owner has disposal over his property as he wishes. 
 As is stated in the Twenty-Sixth Word, an extremely wealthy and skilful craftsman, for example, employs a poor man as a model in order to show off his fine art and valuable wealth. In return for a wage, for a brief hour he clothes the poor man in a bejewelled and most skilfully wrought garment. He works it on him and gives it various states. In order to display the extraordinary varieties of his art, he cuts the garment, alters it, and lengthens and shortens it. Does the poor man working for a wage have the right to say to that person: "You are causing me trouble, you are causing me distress with the form you have given it, making me bow down and stand up;" has he the right to tell him that he is spoiling his fine appearance by cutting and shortening the garment which makes him beautiful? Can he tell him he is being unkind and unfair? 
 O sick person! Just like in this comparison, in order to display the garment of your body with which He has clothed you, bejewelled as it is with luminous faculties like the eye, the ear, the reason, and the heart, and the embroideries of His Most Beautiful Names, the All-Glorious Maker makes you revolve amid numerous states and changes you in many situations. Like you learn of His Name of Provider through hunger, come to know also His Name of Healer through your illness. Since suffering and calamities show the decrees of some of His Names, within those flashes
  1. 269

of wisdom and rays of mercy are many instances of good to be found. If the veil of illness, which you fear and loathe, was to be lifted, behind it you would find many agreeable and beautiful meanings.

 O you who is afflicted with illness! Through experience I have formed the opinion at this time that sickness is a Divine bounty for some people, a gift of the Most Merciful One.5 Although I am not worthy of it, for the past eight or nine years, a number of young people have come to me in connection with illness, seeking my prayers. I have noticed that each of those ill youths had begun to think of the Hereafter to a greater degree than other young people. He lacked the drunkenness of youth. He was saving himself to a degree from animal desires and heedlessness. So I would consider them and then warn them that their illnesses were a Divine bounty within the limits of their endurance. I would say: "I am not opposed to this illness of yours, my brother. I don't feel compassion and pity for you because of your illness, so that I should pray for you. Try to be patient until illness awakens you completely, and after it has performed its duty, God willing, the Compassionate Creator will restore you to health."
 I would also say to them: "Through the calamity of good health, some of your fellows become neglectful, give up the five daily prayers, do not think of the grave, and forget God Almighty. Through the superficial pleasure of a brief hour's worldly life, they shake and damage an unending, eternal life, and even destroy it. Due to illness, you see the grave, which you will in any event enter, and the dwellings of the Hereafter beyond it, and you act in accordance with them. That means for you, illness is good health, while for some of your peers good health is a sickness..."
 O sick person who complains about his suffering! I say to you: think of your past life and remember the pleasurable and happy days and the distressing and troublesome times. For sure, you will either say "Oh!" or "Ah!" That is, your heart and tongue will either say "All praise and thanks be to God!", or "Alas and alack!" Note carefully, what makes you exclaim "Praise and thanks be to God!" is thinking of the pains and calamities that have befallen you; it induces a sort of pleasure so that your heart offers thanks. For the passing of pain is a pleasure. With the passing of pains and calamities, a legacy of pleasure is left in the spirit, which on being aroused by thinking, pours forth from the spirit with thanks.
 5. Bukhari, Marda 1; Muwatta', Ayn 7; Musnad ii, 237.
  1. 270

What makes you exclaim "Alas and alack!" are the pleasurable and happy times you have experienced in the former times, which, with their passing leave a legacy of constant pain in your spirit. Whenever you think of them, the pain is again stimulated, causing regret and sorrow to pour forth.

 Since one day's illicit pleasure sometimes causes a year's suffering in the spirit, and with the pain of a fleeting day's illness are many days' pleasure and recompense in addition to the pleasure at being relieved at its passing and saved from it, think of the result of this temporary illness with which you are now afflicted, and of the merits of its inner face. Say: "All is from God! This too will pass!", and offer thanks instead of complaining.
 O brother who thinks of the pleasures of this world and suffers distress at illness! If this world was everlasting, and if on our way there was no death, and if the winds of separation and decease did not blow, and if there were no winters of the spirit in the calamitous and stormy future, I would have pitied you together with you. But since one day the world will bid us to leave it and will close its ears to our cries, we must forego our love of it now through the warnings of these illnesses, before it drives us out. We must try to abandon it in our hearts before it abandons us.
 Yes, illness utters this warning to us: "Your body is not composed of stone and iron, but of various materials which are always disposed to parting. Leave off your pride, understand your impotence, recognize your Owner, know your duties, learn why you came to this world!" It declares this secretly in the heart's ear.
 Moreover, since the pleasures and enjoyment of this world do not continue, and particularly if they are illicit, they are both fleeting, and full of pain, and sinful, do not weep on the pretext of illness because you have lost those pleasures. On the contrary, think of the aspects of worship and reward in the Hereafter to be found in illness, and try to receive pleasure from those.
 O sick person who has lost the pleasures of health! Your illness does not spoil the pleasure of Divine bounties, on the contrary, it causes them to be experienced and increases them. For if something is continuous, it loses its effect. The people of reality even say that "Things are known
 6. This Flash occurred to me in a natural manner, and two remedies have been included in the Sixth Remedy. We have left it thus in order not to spoil the naturalness; indeed, we did not change it thinking there may be some mystery contained in it.
  1. 271

through their opposites." For example, if there was no darkness, light would not be known and would contain no pleasure. If there was no cold, heat could not be comprehended. If there was no hunger, food would afford no pleasure. If there was no thirst of the stomach, there would be no pleasure in drinking water. If there was no sickness, no pleasure would be had from good health.

 The All-Wise Creator's decking out man with truly numerous members and faculties, to the extent that he may experience and recognize the innumerable varieties of bounties in the universe, shows that He wants to make man aware of every sort of His bounty and to acquaint him with them and to impel man to offer constant thanks. Since this is so, He will give illness, sickness, and suffering, the same as He bestows good health and well-being. I ask you: "If there had not been this illness in your head or in your hand or stomach, would you have perceived the pleasurable and enjoyable Divine bounty of the good health of your head, hand or stomach, and offered thanks? For sure, it is not offering thanks for it, you would not have even thought of it! You would have unconsciously spent that good health on heedlessness, and perhaps even on dissipation.
 O sick person who thinks of the Hereafter! Sickness washes away the dirt of sins like soap, and cleanses. It is established in a sound Hadith that illnesses are atonement for sins. And in another Hadith, it says: "As ripe fruits fall on their tree being shaken, so the sins of a believer fall away on his shaking with illness."7
 Sins are the lasting illnesses of eternal life, and in this worldly life they are sicknesses for the heart, conscience, and spirit. If you are patient and do not complain, you will be saved through this temporary sickness from numerous perpetual sicknesses. If you do not think of your sins, or do not know the Hereafter, or do not recognize God, you suffer from an illness so fearsome it is a million times worse than your present minor illnesses. Cry out at that, for all the beings in the world are connected with your heart, spirit, and soul. Those connections are continuously severed by death and separation, opening up in you innumerable wounds. Particularly since you do not know the Hereafter and imagine death to be eternal non-existence, it is quite simply as though lacerated and bruised, your being suffers illness to the extent of the world. 
 Thus, the first thing you have to do is to search for the cure of belief, which is a certain healing remedy for the innumerable illnesses of that
 7. Bukhari, Marda 1, 2, 13, 16; Muslim, Birr 45; Darimi, Rikak 57; Musnad i, 371, 441; ii, 303, 335; iii, 4, 18, 38, 48, 61, 81.
  1. 272

infinitely wounded and sick, extensive immaterial being of yours; you have to correct your beliefs, and the shortest way of finding such a cure is to recognize the power and mercy of the All-Powerful One of Glory by means of the window of your weakness and impotence shown you behind the curtain of heedlessness, rent by your physical illness.

 Yes, one who does not recognize God is afflicted with a world-full of tribulations. While the world of one who does recognize Him is full of light and spiritual happiness; he perceives these in accordance with the strength of his belief. The suffering resulting from insignificant physical illnesses is dissolved by the immaterial joy, healing, and pleasure that arise from this belief; the suffering melts away.
 O sick person who recognizes his Creator! The pain, fear, and anxiety in illness is because it is sometimes leads to death. Since superficially and to the heedless view death is frightening, illnesses which may lead to it cause fear and apprehension.
 So know firstly and believe firmly that the appointed hour is determined and does not change. Those weeping beside the grievously sick and those in perfect health have died, while the grievously sick have been cured and lived.
 S e c o n d l y : Death is not terrifying as it appears to be superficially. Through the light afforded by the All-Wise Qur'an, in many parts of the Risale-i Nur we have proved in completely certain and indubitable fashion that for believers death is to be discharged from the burdensome duties of life. And for them it is a rest from worship, which is the instruction and training in the arena of trial of this world. It is also a means of their rejoining friends and relations, ninety-nine out of a hundred of whom have already departed for the next world. And it is a means of entering their true homeland and eternal abodes of happiness. It is also an invitation to the gardens of Paradise from the dungeon of this world. And it is the time to receive their wage from the munificence of the Most Compassionate Creator in return for service rendered to Him. Since the reality of death is this, it should not be regarded as terrifying, but on the contrary, as the introduction to mercy and happiness.
 Moreover, some of the people of God fearing death has not been out of terror at it, but due to their hope of gaining more merit through performing more good works with the continuation of the duties of life.
 Yes, for the people of belief, death is the door to Divine mercy, while for the people of misguidance, it is the pit of everlasting darkness.
  1. 273
 O sick person who worries unnecessarily! You worry at the severity of your illness and that worry increases it. If you want your illness to be less severe, try not to worry. That is, think of the benefits of your illness, the recompense for it, and that it will pass quickly; it will remove the worry and cut the illness at the root.
 Indeed, worry increases illness twice over. Worry causes an immaterial illness of the heart beneath the physical illness; the physical illness rests on that and persists. If the worry ceases through submission, contentment, and thinking of the wisdom in the illness, an important part of the illness is extirpated; it becomes lighter and in part disappears. Sometimes a minor physical illness increases tenfold just through anxiety. On the anxiety ceasing, nine tenths of the illness disappears.
 Worry increases illness, so is it also like an accusation against Divine wisdom and a criticism of Divine mercy and complaint against the Compassionate Creator. For this reason, contrary to his intentions, the one who does so receives a rebuff and it increases his illness. Yes, just as thanks increases bounty, so also complaint increases illness and tribulations.
 Furthermore, worry is itself an illness. The cure for it is to know the wisdom in illness and the purpose of it. Since you have learnt its purpose and benefit, apply that salve to your worry and find relief! Say "Ah!" instead of "Oh!", and "All praise be to God for every situation" instead of sighing and lamenting.
 O my impatient sick brother! Although illness causes you an immediate suffering, the passing of your illness in the past until today produces an immaterial pleasure and happiness for the spirit arising from the reward received for enduring it. From today forward, and even from this hour, there is no illness, and certainly no pain is to be had from non-being. And if there is no pain, there cannot be any grief. You become impatient because you imagine things wrongly. Because, with the physical aspect of your time of illness prior to today departing, its pain has departed with it; only its reward and the pleasure of its passing remains. While it should give you profit and happiness, to think of past days and feel grieved and become impatient is crazy. Future days have not yet come. To think of them now, and by imagining a day that does not exist and an illness that does not exist and grief that does not exist to be grieved and display impatience, is to give the colour of existence to three degrees of non-existence-if that is not crazy, what is?
  1. 274

Since, if the hour previous to the present was one of illness, it produces joy; and since the time subsequent to the present hour is non-existent, and the illness is non-existent, and the grief is non-existent, do not scatter the power of patience given you by Almighty God to right and left, but muster it in the face of pain of the present hour; say: "O Most Patient One!" and withstand it.

 O sick person who due to illness cannot perform his worship and invocations and feels grief at the deprivation! Know that it is stated in a Hadith that "A pious believer who due to illness cannot perform the invocations he normally regularly performs, receives an equal reward."8 On an ill person carrying out his obligatory worship as far as it is possible with patience and relying on God, during that time of severe illness, the illness takes the place of Sunna worship-and in sincere form.
 Moreover, illness makes a person understand his impotence and weakness. It causes him to offer supplication both verbally and through the tongue of his impotence and weakness. Almighty God bestowed on man a boundless impotence and infinite weakness so that he would perpetually seek refuge at the Divine Court and beseech and supplicate. According to the meaning of the verse, 
 Say: Your Sustainer would not concern Himself with you if it was not for your prayers;9 
 that is, "what importance would you have if you did not offer prayer and supplication?", the wisdom in man's creation and reason for his value is sincere prayer and supplication. Since one cause of this is illness, from this point of view it should not be complained about, but God should be thanked for it, and the tap of supplication which illness opens should not be closed by regaining health.
 O unhappy person who complains at illness! For some people illness is an important treasury, a most valuable Divine gift. Every sick person can think of his illness as being of that sort.
 The appointed hour is not known: in order to deliver man from absolute despair and absolute heedlessness, and to hold him between hope and fear and so preserve both this world and the Hereafter, in His wisdom Almighty God has concealed the appointed hour. The appointed hour
 8. Bukhari, Jihad 134; Musnad iv, 410, 418.
 9. Qur'an, 25:77.
  1. 275

may come at any time; if it captures man in heedlessness, it may cause grievous harm to eternal life. But illness dispels the heedlessness; it makes a person think of the Hereafter; it recalls death, and thus he may prepare himself. Some illnesses are so profitable that they gain for a person in twenty days a rank they could not otherwise have gained in twenty years.

 For instance, from among my friends there were two youths, may God have mercy on them. One was Sabri from the village of Ilema, the other Vezirzâde Mustafa from Islâmköy. I used to note with amazement that although these two could not write they were among the foremost in regard to sincerity and the service of belief. I did not know the reason for this. After their deaths I understood that both suffered from a serious illness. Through the guidance of the illness, unlike other neglectful youths who gave up obligatory worship, they had great fear of God, performed most valuable service, and attained a state beneficial to the Hereafter. God willing, the distress of two years' illness was the means to the happiness of millions of years of eternal life. I now understand that the prayers I sometimes offered for their health were maledictions in respect to this world. God willing, my prayers were accepted for their well-being in the Hereafter.
 Thus, according to my belief, these two gained profit equivalent to that which may be gained through ten years' fear of God [taqwa].10 If like some young people, they had relied on their youth and good health and thrown themselves into heedlessness and vice, and watching them, death had grabbed them right in the midst of the filth of their sins, they would have made their graves into lairs of scorpions and snakes, instead of that treasury of lights.
 Since illnesses contain such benefits, they should be not complained about, but borne with patience and relying on God, indeed, thanking God and having confidence in His mercy.
 O sick person whose eyes have developed cataracts! If you knew what a light and spiritual eye is to be found beneath the cataract that may cover a believer's eyes, you would exclaim: "A hundred thousand thanks to my Compassionate Sustainer." I shall recount an incident to you to explain this salve. It is as follows:
 10. The Hadith's meaning is this: "If a person has standing in God's sight and he cannot reach that station through good works and taqwa, God afflicts him with such tribulations as illness until he does attain it." al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak i, 344.
  1. 276

One time, the aunt of Süleyman from Barla, who served me for eight years with total loyalty and willingness, became blind. Thinking well of me a hundred times more than was my due, the righteous woman caught me by the door of the mosque and asked me to pray for her sight to be restored. So I made the blessed woman's righteousness the intercessor for my supplication, and beseeching Almighty God, I prayed: "O Lord! Restore her sight out of respect for her righteousness." Two days later, an oculist from Burdur came and removed the cataract. Forty days later she again lost her sight. I was most upset and prayed fervently for her. God willing, the prayer was accepted for her life in the Hereafter, otherwise that prayer of mine would have been a most mistaken malediction for her. For forty days had remained till her death; forty days later she had died-May God have mercy on her.

 Thus, in place of the woman looking sorrowfully at the gardens of Barla with the eye of old age, she profited by in her grave being able to gaze for forty thousand days on the gardens of Paradise. For her belief was strong and she was completely righteous.
 Yes, if a believer loses his sight and enters the grave blind, in accordance with his degree he may gaze on the world of light to a much greater extent than others in their graves. Just as we see many things in this world that blind believers do not see, if they depart with belief, those blind people see to a greater extent than other dead in their graves. As though looking through the most powerful telescopes, they can see and gaze on the gardens of Paradise like the cinema, in accordance with their degree.
 Thus, with thanks and patience you can find beneath the veil on your present eye an eye which is thus light-filled, and with which while beneath the earth you can see and observe Paradise above the skies. That which will raise the veil from your eye, the eye doctor that will allow you to look with that eye, is the All-Wise Qur'an. 
 O sick person who sighs and laments! Do not look at the outward aspect of illness and sigh, look at its meaning and be pleased. If the meaning of illness had not been good, the All-Compassionate Creator would not have given illness to the servants He loves most. Whereas, there is a Hadith the meaning of which is, "Those afflicted with the severest trials are the prophets, then the saints and those like them."11 That is, "Those most afflicted with tribulations and difficulties are the best of men, the
 11. al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir i, 519 no:1056; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak iii, 343; Bukhari, Marda 3; Tirmidhi, Zuhd 57; Ibn Maja, Fitan 23; Darimi, Rikak 67; Musnad i, 172, 174, 180, 185; vi, 369.
  1. 277

most perfect." Foremost the Prophet Job (Upon whom be peace) and the other prophets, then the saints, then the righteous, have regarded the illnesses they have suffered as sincere worship, as gifts of the Most Merciful; they have offered thanks in patience. They have seen them as surgical operations performed by the All-Compassionate Creator's mercy.

 O you who cries out and laments! If you want to join this luminous caravan, offer thanks in patience. For if you complain, they will not accept you. You will fall into the pits of the people of misguidance, and travel a dark road.
 Yes, there are some illnesses which if they lead to death, are like a sort of martyrdom; they result in a degree of sainthood like martyrdom. For example, those who die from the illnesses accompanying childbirth12 and pains of the abdomen, and by drowning, burning, and plague, become martyrs. So also there are many blessed illnesses which gain the degree of sainthood for those who die from them. Moreover, since illness lessens love of the world and attachment to it, it lightens parting from the world through death, which for the worldly is extremely grievous and painful, and it sometimes even makes it desirable.
 O sick person who complains of his distress! Illness prompts respect and compassion, which are most important and good in human social life. For it saves man from self-sufficiency, which drives him to unsociableness and unkindness. For according to the meaning of,
 Indeed man transgresses all bounds * In that he looks upon himself as self-sufficient,13
 an evil-commanding soul which feels self-sufficient due to good health and well-being, does not feel respect towards his brothers in many instances, who are deserving of it. And he does not feel compassion towards the sick and those smitten by disaster, although they deserve kindness and pity. Whenever he is ill, he understands his own impotence and want, and he has respect towards his brothers who are worthy of it. He feels respect towards his believing brothers who visit him or assist him. And he feels human kindness, which arises from fellow-feeling, and compassion for those struck by disaster-a most important Islamic characteristic. And comparing them to himself, he pities them in the true meaning of the word and feels compassion for them. He does what he can
 12. The period this martyrdom may be gained through illness is around the forty days of 'lying-in.'
 13. Qur'an, 96:6-7.
  1. 278

to help them, and at the very least prays for them and goes to visit them to ask them how they are, which is Sunna according to the Shari'a, and thus earns reward.

 O sick person who complains at not being able to perform good works due to illness! Offer thanks! It is illness that opens to you the door of the most sincere of good works. In addition to continuously gaining reward for the sick person and for those who look after him for God's sake, illness is a most important means for supplications being accepted.
 Indeed, there is significant reward for believers for looking after the sick. Enquiring after their health and visiting the sick-on condition it does not tax them-is Sunna14 and also atonement for sins. There is an Hadith which says, "Receive the prayers of the sick, for their prayers are acceptable."15
 Especially if the sick are relations, and parents in particular, to look after them is important worship, yielding significant reward. To please a sick person's heart and console him, is like significant alms-giving. Fortunate is the person who pleases the easily touched hearts of father and mother at the time of illness, and receives their prayer. Indeed, even the angels applaud saying: "Ma'shallah! Barekallah!" before loyal scenes of those good offspring who respond at the time of their illness to the compassion of their parents-those most worthy of respect in the life of society-with perfect respect and filial kindness, showing the exaltedness of humanity.
 Yes, there are pleasures at the time of illness which arise from the kindness, pity, and compassion of those around them, and are most pleasant and agreeable and reduce the pains of illness to nothing. The acceptability of the prayers of the sick is an important matter. For the past thirty or forty years, I myself have prayed to be cured from the illness of lumbago from which I suffer. However, I understood that the illness had been given for prayer. Since through prayer, prayer cannot be removed, that is, since prayer cannot remove itself, I understood that the results of prayer pertain to the Hereafter,16 and that it is itself a sort of worship, for through illness one understands one's impotence and seeks refuge at the Divine Court. Therefore, although for thirty years I have offered supplications
 14. al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir ii, 45 no: 1285.
 15. Ibn Maja, Jana'iz 1; Daylami, Musnadu'l-Firdaws i, 280.
 16. Yes, while certain illnesses are the reason for the existence of supplication, if the supplication is the cause of the illness' non-existence, the existence of the supplication would be the cause of its own non-existence, and this could not be the case.
  1. 279

to be healed and apparently my prayer was not accepted, it did not occur to me to give up the supplication. Because illness is the time of supplication; to be cured is not the result of the supplication. If the All-Wise and Compassionate One bestows healing, He bestows it out of His abundant grace.

 Furthermore, if supplications are not accepted in the form we wish, it may not be said that they have not been accepted. The All-Wise Creator knows better than us; He gives whatever is in our interests. Sometimes for our interests, he directs our prayers for this world towards the Hereafter, and accepts them in that way. In any event, a supplication that acquires sincerity due to illness and arises from weakness, impotence, humility and need in particular, is very close to being acceptable. Illness is the means to supplication that is thus sincere. Both the sick who are religious, and believers who look after the sick, should take advantage of this supplication.
 O sick person who gives up offering thanks and takes up complaining! Complaint arises from a right. None of your rights have been lost that you should complain. Indeed, there are numerous thanks which are an obligation for you, a right over you, and these you have not performed. Without Almighty God giving you the right, you are complaining as though demanding rights in a manner which is not rightful. You cannot look at others superior to you in degree who are healthy, and complain. You are rather charged with looking at the sick who from the point of view of health are at a lower degree than yourself, and offering thanks. If your hand is broken, look at theirs, which is severed. If you have only one eye, look at the blind, who lack both eyes. And offer thanks to God!
 For sure, no one has the right to look to those superior to him in regard to bounties and to complain. And in tribulations it is everyone's right to look to those above themselves in regard to tribulation, so that they should offer thanks. This mystery has been explained in a number of places in the Risale-i Nur with a comparison; a summary of it is as follows:
 A person takes a wretched man to the top of a minaret. On every step he gives him a different gift, a different bounty. Right at the top of the minaret he gives him the largest present. Although he wants thanks and gratitude in return for all those various gifts, the peevish man forgets the presents he has received on each of the stairs, or considers them to be of no importance, and offering no thanks, looks above him and starts to complain, saying, "If only this minaret had been higher I could have
  1. 280

climbed even further. Why isn't it as tall as that mountain over there or that other minaret?" If he begins to complain like this, what great ingratitude it would be, what a wrong!

 In just the same way, man comes into existence from nothing, not as a rock or a tree or an animal, but becomes a man and a Muslim, and most of the time sees good health and acquires a high level of bounties. Despite all this, to complain and display impatience because he is not worthy of some bounties, or because he loses them through wrong choice or abuse, or because he could not obtain them, and to criticize Divine dominicality saying "What have I done that this has happened to me?", is a condition and immaterial sickness more calamitous than the physical one. Like fighting with a broken hand, complaint makes his illness worse. Sensible is the one who in accordance with the meaning of the verse, 
 Those who when struck by calamity say: To God do we belong, and to God is our return17
 submits and is patient, so that the illness may complete its duty, then depart.
 As the term of the Eternally Besought One, 'the Most Beautiful Names' shows, all the Names of the All-Beauteous One of Glory are beautiful. Among beings, the most subtle, the most beautiful, the most comprehensive mirror of Eternal Besoughtedness is life. The mirror to the beautiful is beautiful. The mirror that shows the virtues of beauty becomes beautiful. Just as whatever is done to the mirror by such beauty is good and beautiful, whatever befalls life too, in respect of reality, is good. Because it displays the beautiful impresses of the Most Beautiful Names, which are good and beautiful.
 If life passes monotonously with permanent health and well-being, it becomes a deficient mirror. Indeed, in one respect, it tells of non-existence, non-being, and nothingness, and causes weariness. It reduces the life's value, and transforms the pleasure of life into distress. Because thinking he will pass his time quickly, out of boredom, a person throws himself either into vice or into amusements. Like a prison sentence, he becomes hostile to his valuable life and wants to kill it and make it pass quickly. Whereas a life that revolves in change and action and different states makes its value felt, and makes known the importance and pleasure of life. Even if it is in hardship and tribulation, such a person does not want his life to pass quickly. He does not complain out of boredom, saying, "Alas! The sun hasn't set yet," or, "it is still nighttime."
 17. Qur'an, 2:156.
  1. 281

Yes, ask a fine gentleman who is rich and idle and living in the lap of luxury, "How are you?" You are bound to hear a pathetic reply like: "The time never passes. Let's have a game of backgammon. Or let's find some amusement to pass the time." Or else you will hear complaints arising from worldly ambition, like: "I haven't got that; if only I had done such-and-such."

 Then ask someone struck by disaster or a worker or poor man living in hardship: "How are you?" If he is sensible, he will reply: "All thanks be to God, I am working. If only the evening did not come so quickly, I could have finished this work! Time passes so quickly, and so does life, they pass so quickly. For sure things are hard for me, but that will pass too. Everything passes quickly." He in effect says how valuable life is and how regretful he is at its passing. That means he understands the pleasure and value of life through hardship and labour. As for ease and health, they make life bitter and make it wanted to be passed.
 My brother who is sick! Know that the origin and leaven of calamities and evils, and even of sins, is non-existence, as is proved decisively and in detail in other parts of the Risale-i Nur. As for non-existence, it is evil. It is because monotonous states like ease, silence, tranquillity, and arrest are close to non-existence and nothingness that they make felt the darkness of non-existence and cause distress. As for action and change, they are existence and make existence felt. And existence is pure good, it is light.
 Since the reality is thus, your illness has been sent to your being as a guest to perform many duties like purifying your valuable life, and strengthening it and making it progress, and to make the other human faculties in your being turn in assistance towards your sick member, and to display various Names of the All-Wise Maker. God willing, it will carry out its duties quickly and depart. And it will say to good health: "Come, and stay permanently in my place, and carry out your duties. This house is yours. Remain here in good health."
 O sick person who is searching for a remedy for his ills! Illness is of two sorts. One sort is real, the other, imaginary. As for the real sort, the All-Wise and Glorious Healer has stored up in His mighty pharmacy of the earth a cure for every illness. It is licit to obtain medicines and use them as treatment, but one should know that their effect and the cure are from Almighty God. He gives the cure just as He provides the medicine.
 Following the recommendations of skilful and God-fearing doctors is
  1. 282

an important medicine. For most illnesses arise from abuses, lack of abstinence, wastefulness, mistakes, dissipation, and lack of care. A religious doctor will certainly give advice and orders within the bounds of the lawful. He will forbid abuses and excesses, and give consolation. The sick person has confidence in his orders and consolation, and his illness lessens; it produces as easiness for him in place of distress.

 But when it comes to imaginary illness, the most effective medicine for it is to give it no importance. The more importance is given it, the more it grows and swells. If no importance is given it, it lessens and disperses. The more bees are upset the more they swarm around a person's head and if no attention is paid to them they disperse. So too, the more importance one pays to a piece of string waving in front of one's eyes in the darkness and to the apprehension it causes one, the more it grows and makes one flee from it like a madman. While if one pays it no importance, one sees that it is an ordinary bit of string and not a snake, and laughs at one's fright and anxiety. 
 If hypochondria continues a long time, it is transformed into reality. It is a bad illness for the nervous and those given to imaginings; such people make a mountain out of a molehill and their morale is destroyed. Especially if they encounter unkind 'half' doctors or unfair doctors, it further provokes their hypochondria. For the rich, they lose their wealth, or they lose their wits, or their health.
 My sick brother! There is physical pain with your illness, but a significant immaterial pleasure encompasses you that will remove the effect of your physical pain. For if you have father, mother, and relations, their most pleasurable compassion towards which you have forgotten since childhood will be reawakened and you will see again their kind looks which you received in childhood. In addition, the friendships around you which had remained secret and hidden again look towards you with love through the attraction of illness, and so, in the face of these your physical pain becomes very cheap. Also, since those whom you have served proudly through the decree of illness now serve you kindly, you have become a master to the masters. Moreover, since you have attracted towards yourself the fellow-feeling and human kindness in people, you have found numerous helpful friends and kind companions. And again, you have received the order from your illness to rest from many taxing duties, and you are taking a rest. For sure, in the face of these immaterial pleasures, your minor pain should drive you to thanks, not complaint.
  1. 283
 My brother who suffers from a severe illness like apoplexy! Firstly I give you the good news that apoplexy is considered blessed for believers. A long time ago I used to hear this from holy men and I did not know the reason. Now, one reason for it occurs to me as follows:
 In order to attain union with Almighty God, be saved from the great spiritual dangers of this world, and to obtain eternal happiness, the people of God have chosen to follow two principles:
 T h e F i r s t is contemplation of death. Thinking that like the world is transitory, they too are transient guests charged with duties, they worked for eternal life in that way.
 T h e S e c o n d : Through fasting, religious exercises and asceticism, they tried to kill the evil-commanding soul and so be saved from its dangers and from the blind emotions.
 And you, my brother who has lost the health of half his body! Without choosing it, you have been given these two principles, which are short and easy and the cause of happiness. Thus, the state of your being perpetually warns you of the fleeting nature of the world and that man is transient. The world can no longer drown you, nor heedlessness close your eyes. And for sure, the evil-commanding soul cannot deceive with base lusts and animal appetites someone in the state of half a man; he is quickly saved from the trials of the soul.
 Thus, through the mystery of belief in God and submission to Him and reliance on Him, a believer can benefit in a brief time from a severe illness like apoplexy, like the severe trials of the saints. Then a severe illness such as that becomes exceedingly cheap.
 Unhappy ill person who is alone and a stranger! Even if your aloneness and exile together with your illness were to arouse sympathy towards you in the hardest hearts and attract kindness and compassion, could that be a substitute for your All-Compassionate Creator? For He presents Himself to us at the start of all the Qur'an's Suras with the attributes of "the Merciful and the Compassionate," and with one flash of His compassion makes all mothers nurture their young with that wonderful tenderness, and with one manifestation of His mercy every spring fills the face of the earth with bounties, and a single manifestation of His mercy is eternal life in Paradise together with all its wonders. Then surely your relation to Him through belief, your recognizing Him and beseeching Him through the tongue of impotence of your illness, and your illness of
  1. 284

loneliness in exile, will attract the glance of His mercy towards you, which takes the place of everything. Since He exists and He looks to you, everything exists for you. Those who are truly alone and in exile are those who are not connected with Him through belief and submission, or attach no importance to that relation.

 O you who look after innocent sick children or after the elderly, who are like innocent children! Before you is important trade for the Hereafter. Gain that trade through enthusiasm and endeavour! It is established by the people of reality that the illnesses of innocent children are like exercises and training for their delicate bodies, and injections and dominical training to allow them to withstand in the future the upheavals of the world; that in addition to many instances of wisdom pertaining to the child's worldly life, instead of the atonement for sins in adults which looks to spiritual life and is the means to purifying life, illnesses are like injections ensuring the child's spiritual progress in the future or in the Hereafter; and that the merits accruing from such illnesses pass to the book of good works of the parents, and particularly of the mother who through the mystery of compassion prefers the health of her child to her own health.
 As for looking after the elderly, it is established in sound narrations and many historical events that together with receiving huge reward, to receive the prayers of the elderly and especially of parents, and to make their hearts happy and serve them loyally, is the means to happiness both in this world and in the Hereafter. And it is established by many events that a fortunate child who obeys to the letter his elderly parents will be treated in the same way by his children, and that if a wretched child wounds his parents he will be punished by means of many disasters in this world as well as in the Hereafter. Yes, to look after not only relatives who are elderly or innocents, but also those of the believers if one encounters them-since through the mystery of belief there is true brotherhood-and to serve the venerable sick elderly if they are in need of it to one's utmost ability, is required by Islam.
 My sick brothers! If you want a most beneficial and truly pleasurable sacred cure, develop your belief! That is, through repentance and seeking forgiveness, and the five daily prayers and worship, make use of belief, that sacred cure-and of the medicine which arises from belief.
 Indeed, due to love of this world and attachment to it, it is as if you
  1. 285

possess a sick immaterial being as large as the world, like the heedless. We have proved in many parts of the Risale-i Nur that belief at once heals that immaterial being of yours as large as the world, which is bruised and battered by the blows of death and separation, and saves it from the wounds and truly heals it. I cut short the discussion here so as not to weary you.

 As for the medicine of belief, it shows its effect through your carrying out your religious obligations as far as is possible. Heedlessness, vice, the lusts of the soul, and illicit amusements prevent the effectiveness of that remedy. Since illness removes heedlessness, cuts the appetites, is an obstacle to illicit pleasures, take advantage of it. Make use of the sacred medicines and lights of belief through repentance and seeking forgiveness, and prayer and supplication.
 May Almighty God restore you to health and make your illnesses atonement for sins. Amen. Amen. Amen.
 And they say: All praise be to God Who has guided us to this; never could we have found guidance if it had not for the guidance of God; indeed, the Messengers of our Sustainer did bring the truth.18
 Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.19
 O God! Grant blessings to our master Muhammad, the medicine for our hearts and their remedy, the good health of our bodies and their healing, the light of our eyes and their radiance, and to his Family and Companions, and grant them peace.
 * * *
 Addendum to the Twenty-Fifth Flash
 This is the Seventeenth Letter, which having been included in the Letters Collection, has not been added here.
 * * *
 18. Qur'an, 7:43.
 19. Qur'an, 2:32.
  1. 286


 Treatise For The Elderly
 [This Flash consists of Twenty-Six hopes, lights, and solaces.1]
 REMINDER: The reason I have written my sorrows and afflictions in a most grievous way which will sadden you at the beginning of each 'Hope' is in order to show the extraordinary efficaciousness of the remedies proceeding from the All-Wise Qur'an. This Flash, concerning the Elderly, has been unable to preserve beauty of expression in three or four respects:
 The First: Since it is about the story of my life, I revisited those times in my imagination and it was written in that state of mind. A correct order could not therefore be preserved in the manner of expression.
 The Second: It was written at a time I felt extreme fatigue, after the morning prayers, and I was also compelled to write it at speed; thus its manner of expression became confused.
 The Third: There was not always someone with me to write, and the scribe who generally accompanied me had four or five other duties concerning the Risale-i Nur. We therefore could not find sufficient time to correct it and it remained in a disordered state.
 The Fourth: We were both tired after its composition, and not thinking carefully of the meaning, made do with correcting it only superficially; so there are bound to be faults in the manner of expression. I request of the generous elderly that they look tolerantly on my errors of expression and that since Divine mercy does not reject the prayers of the blessed elderly, when they lift up their hands to the Divine Court, they include us in their prayers.
 1. In a handwritten copy of this Flash corrected by the respected author, it was written: "The remaining 'Hopes', from the Fourteenth to the Twenty-Sixth, have not been written due to the well-known calamity (Eskishehir Prison); the time of writing them having passed now, it has remained without."
  1. 287
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Kaf. Ha. Ya. 'Ain. Sad. * [This is] a recital of the mercy of your Sustainer to His servant Zakariya. * Behold! he cried to His Sustainer in secret, * Praying: "O my Sustainer! Infirm indeed are my bones, and the hair of my head glistens with grey; but I am never unblest, O my Sustainer, in my prayer to you."2
 Respected elderly brothers and sisters who have reached the age of maturity! Like you, I am elderly. I am going to write the 'hopes' I have found in my old age and some of the things that have befallen me, out of the desire to share with you the lights of consolation they contain. Of course the lights I have seen and the doors of hope I have encountered have been seen and opened in accordance with my defective and confused abilities. God willing, your pure and sincere dispositions will make the lights I have seen shine more brightly and strengthen the hopes I have found.
 Thus, the spring, source and fount of the following hopes and lights is belief in God.
 One day at the time I entered upon old age, in the autumn at the time of the afternoon prayer, I was gazing on the world from a high mountain. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by a plaintive, sorrowful and in one respect dark state of mind. I saw that I had become old. The day too had grown old, and so had the year; and so too had the world become old. With the time of departure from the world and separation from those I loved drawing close within these other instances of old age, my own old age shook me severely. Suddenly Divine mercy unfolded in such a way that it transformed that plaintive sadness and separation into a powerful hope and shining light of solace. Yes, you who are elderly like myself! The All-Compassionate Creator presents himself to us in a hundred places in the All-Wise Qur'an as "The Most Merciful of the Merciful," and always sends His mercy to the assistance of living creatures on the face of the earth who seek it, and every year fills the spring with innumerable bounties and gifts from the Unseen, sending them to us who are needy for sustenance, and manifests His mercy to a greater degree relative to our weakness and impotence. For us in our old age, therefore, His mercy is our
 2. Qur'an, 19:1-4.
  1. 288

greatest hope and most powerful light. This mercy may be found by forming a relation with the Most Merciful One through belief, and through performing the five daily prayers, by being obedient to Him.

 One time when I awoke in the morning of old age from the sleep of the night of youth I looked at myself and saw that my life was hastening towards the grave as though racing down a slope. As Niyazi Misrî said:
 Each day a stone from the building of my life falls to the ground;
 Heedless one! You slumber, unaware that the building is in ruins!
 My body, the dwelling of my spirit, was becoming dilapidated with every day a stone of it falling away, and my hopes and ambitions which bound me strongly to the world had begun to be broken off from it. I felt that the time of separation from my innumerable friends and those I loved was drawing near. I searched for a salve for that very deep and apparently incurable spiritual wound, but I could not find one. Again like Niyazi Misrî I said:
 While my heart desired its immortality, Reality required the passing of my body;
 I am afflicted with an incurable ill, which even Luqman could not cure!3
 Then suddenly the light and intercession of the Glorious Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him), the tongue, model, exemplar, herald, and representative of Divine Compassion, and the gift of guidance he brought to mankind, soothed and healed that wound I had supposed to be incurable and endless.
 Yes, respected elderly men and women who feel their old age like I do! We are departing, there is no use in deceiving ourselves. If we close our eyes to it, it will not make us remain here. There is a mobilization. The land of the Intermediate Realm, which appears to us to be dark and full of separation due to the gloomy delusions which arise from heedlessness and in part from the people of misguidance, is the meeting-place of friends. It is the world where we shall meet with foremost God's Beloved (Blessings and peace be upon him), and with all our friends.
 We are going to the world of the one who every year for one thousand three hundred and fifty years has been the ruler of one thousand three hundred and fifty million people, and the trainer of their spirits, the
 3. That is to say, although with all its strength my heart wanted my body to be immortal, Divine wisdom necessitated that it be demolished. I was afflicted with an incurable ill for which even Luqman the Wise could find no solution.
  1. 289

teacher of their minds, and the beloved of their hearts; to whose book of good works, in accordance with the meaning of "the cause is like the doer," is every day added the equivalent of all the good works performed by his Community; who is the means to the accomplishment of the elevated Divine purposes in the universe and to the realization of the high value of beings. When he came into the world, according to authentic narrations and accurate divining of reality, he exclaimed: "My Community! My Community!" So too at the Last Judgement when everyone thinks only of themselves, he will again say: "My Community! My Community!", and with sacred and elevated self-sacrifice hasten with his intercession to the assistance of his Community. We are going to such a world, illuminated by the stars of countless saints and purified scholars revolving around that Sun.

 Thus, the means of sharing in that Being's intercession and profiting from his Light, and being saved from the darkness of the Intermediate Realm, is to follow his Glorious Practices.
 At the time I had approached old age, my physical health, which perpetuates heedlessness, was broken. Old age and illness attacked me in concert. Hitting me over the head, they chased away sleep. I had nothing binding me to the world like family, children, and possessions. Having wasted the fruits of my life's the capital through the giddiness of youth, I saw those fruits to consist only of sins and mistakes. Crying out like Niyazi Misrî, I said:
 I had concluded no trade; the capital of life was all lost;
 I came to the road to find the caravan had moved on, unaware.
 Lamenting, I continued down the road, all alone, a stranger;
 My eyes weeping, my heart in anguish, my mind bewildered, unaware.
 I was in exile at the time; I felt a despairing sorrow, a regretful penitence, a longing for assistance. Suddenly, the All-Wise Qur'an came to my aid. It opened a door of hope so powerful and afforded a light of consolation so true that it could have dispelled despair and darknesses a hundred times more intense than mine.
 Yes, respected elderly men and women whose attachment to the world has begun to be sundered and the ties binding them to be broken! Is it possible that the All-Glorious Maker Who creates this world as a most perfectly well-ordered city or palace would not speak with his most important guests and friends, not meet with them? Since He knowingly made this palace and ordered and adorned it through His will and choice, certainly like the one who makes knows, the one who knows will speak.
  1. 290
 And since He made this palace and city into a fine guest-house and place of trade for us, He will surely have a book, a file, to show His relations with us and what He desires from us.
 Thus, the most holy of such Books is the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition; it is a miracle in forty respects and is every instant on the tongues of at least a hundred million people; it scatters light, and every letter of it affords at least ten merits and rewards, and fruits of Paradise and lights in the Intermediate Realm, and sometimes ten thousand, and sometimes-through the mystery of the Night of Power-thirty thousand. There is no book in the universe to compete with it in this respect and no one could put one forward. Since this Qur'an which we have is the Word of the All-Glorious Creator of the heavens and earth, proceeding from His absolute dominicality, the tremendousness of His Godhead, and His all-encompassing mercy, and is His decree and a source of His mercy; adhere to it. In it is a cure for every ill, a light for every darkness, and a hope for all despair.
 Thus, the key to this eternal treasury is belief and submission to God, and listening to the Qur'an and accepting it, and reciting it.
 One time at the start of my old age, desiring solitude, I retired to Yusha Tepesi, Mount Joshua, away up the Istanbul Bosphorus; my spirit was seeking ease in loneliness. One day on that high hill, I gazed around me at the broad horizon, and I cast a glance from the high position of the forty-fifth branch, that is, the forty-fifth year, of the tree of my life to my life's lower levels. I saw that down on the lower branches each year were the countless corpses of those I had known and had loved, and with whom I had been connected. Feeling a truly piteous sorrow arising from parting and separation, thinking like Fuzuli-i Baghdadî of the friends from whom I was parted, I wept:
 As I recall their company I weep,
 So long as there is breath in this dry body, I cry out...
 I sought a solace, a light, a door leading to hope. Suddenly belief in the Hereafter came to my assistance, shedding an inextinguishable light, offering an indestructible hope.
 Yes, my brothers and sisters who are elderly like me! Since there is the Hereafter and it is everlasting, and it is a better world than this; and since the One Who created us is both All-Wise and All-Compassionate; we should not complain and regret our old age. On the contrary, in so far as with old age one reaches perfect maturity through worship and belief,
  1. 291

and it is a sign one will be released from the duties of life and depart for the world of mercy in order to rest, we should be happy with it.

 According to narrations, some relying on witnessing and some on 'absolute certainty', mankind's most eminent individuals, the one hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets,4 have unanimously and with complete agreement given news of the existence of the Hereafter, that men will be sent there, and that the universe's Creator will bring it about in accordance with His certain promise. Similarly, affirming through illumination and witnessing in the form of 'certainty at the degree of knowledge' the reports of the prophets, the one hundred and twenty-four million saints have testified to the Hereafter's existence. And through the manifestations they display in this world, all the Names of the universe's All-Wise Maker self-evidently necessitate an everlasting realm. So too the infinite Pre-Eternal Power and the boundless Eternal Wisdom which allowing nothing to be vain and purposeless every year in the spring, raise to life with the command of "Be!" and it is the incalculable corpses of the dead trees on the face of the earth, making them manifest life after death, and revivify three hundred thousand species of plants and animals as thousands of samples of the resurrection of the dead; these observedly necessitate the existence of the Hereafter, as does the Eternal Mercy and Perpetual Favour which with perfect compassion and in wondrous fashion provide the livelihoods of all living beings needy for sustenance and in a brief time in spring display their uncountable sorts of adornment and decoration; they too necessitate the existence of the Hereafter. Together with man, the most perfect fruit of the universe and its Creator's most loved creature, who of all beings is the most closely concerned with the other beings in the universe, and the clear indications and certain evidence of his intense, unshakeable, constant desire for immortality and his hopes which extend to eternity-all these prove so decisively that after this transient world there is an eternal world, a realm of the Hereafter and everlasting happiness that they self-evidently necessitate that one accepts the Hereafter's existence.5 
 4. Musnad v, 266; Valiyuddin Tabrizi, Mishkatu'l-Masabih iii, 122; Ibnu'l-Qayyim al-Jawzi, Zadu'l-Ma'ad (tahqiq, al-Arnavud) i, 43-4.
 5. The ease of reporting a definite matter and the difficulty in denying it may be seen in the following comparison: if one person says: "There is a wondrous garden on earth the trees in which have fruits which are cans of milk," and another says: "There isn't," the one claiming it only has to point out its place or some of its fruits in order to easily prove it. Whereas the one denying 3can only prove his denial and his claim through seeing
  1. 292
 Since the most important thing the All-Wise Qur'an teaches us is "belief in the Hereafter," and since this belief is thus powerful, and in it are such hope and solace that if a single person was overwhelmed by old age a hundred thousand times over, the consolation arising from this belief would be sufficient to face it; for sure we elderly people should say: "All praise be to God for perfect belief," and love our old age...
 One time during my distressing captivity, having withdrawn from the company of men, I was alone on the top of Çam Dagi, the Pine Mountain, in the mountains of Barla. I was searching for a light in my loneliness. One night while alone on the small platform at the top of a tall pine-tree on the top of that high mountain, old age recalled to me three or four exiles, one within the other. As is described in the Sixth Letter, the melancholy sound of the rustling, murmuring trees on that lonely, silent, distant night affected me grievously in my old age and exile. Old age gave me the following thought: like the day changed into this black grave and the world donned its black shroud, the daytime of your life, too, will turn into night, and the daytime of the world turn into the night of the Intermediate Realm, and summertime of life will be transformed into the winter nighttime of death. It whispered this in my heart's ear. My soul was then obliged to say: 
 Yes, I am far from my native land, but being separated from all those I have loved during my fifty years' lifetime who have died, and remaining weeping for them, is a far more grievous and sorrowful exile than the exile from my country. Moreover, I am drawing close to a much sadder and more painful exile than the melancholy exile of the night and the mountain: old age informs me that I am approaching the time of separation from all the world. I then sought a light, a hope from these sorrowful exiles one within the other. Suddenly belief in God came to my assistance and afforded such a familiarity that even if the compounded desolation in which I found myself increased a thousandfold, its consolation would have been sufficient.
 Elderly men and women! Since we have a Compassionate Creator, there can be no exile for us! Since He exists, everything exists for us. Since He exists, the angels exist too. The world is not empty. Lonely mountains and empty deserts are full of Almighty God's servants. Apart from His conscious servants, stones and trees also become like familiar friends when seen through His light and on His account. They may converse with us and give us enjoyment.
  1. 293
 Yes, evidences and witnesses to the number of beings in the universe and to the number of the letters of this vast book of the world testify to the existence of our All-Compassionate, Munificent, Intimate, Loving Creator, Maker, and Protector; they show us His mercy to the number of living creatures' members, foods, and bounties, which may be the means to His compassion, mercy, and favour, and indicate His Court. The most acceptable intercessor at His Court is impotence and weakness. And precisely the time of impotence and weakness is old age. So one should not feel resentful at old age, which is thus an acceptable intercessor at a court, but love it.
 One time at the start of my old age when the laughter of the Old Said was being transformed into the weeping of the New Said, supposing me still to be the Old Said, the worldly in Ankara invited me there, and I went. At the close of autumn I climbed to the top of the citadel, which was far more aged, dilapidated, and worn out than me. It seemed to me to be formed of petrified historical events. The old age of the season of the year together with my old age, the citadel's old age, mankind's old age, the old age of the glorious Ottoman Empire, and the death of the Caliphate's rule, and the world's old age all caused me to look in the most grieved, piteous and melancholy state in that lofty citadel at the valleys of the past and the mountains of the future. As I experienced an utterly black state of mind in Ankara encompassed by four or five layers of the darknesses of old age one within the other,6 I sought a light, a solace, a hope.
 As I sought consolation looking to the right, that is, to the past, my father and forefathers and the human race appeared in the form of a vast grave and filled me with gloom rather than consoling me. Seeking a remedy I looked to the future, which was to my left. I saw that it appeared as a huge, dark grave for myself, my contemporaries, and future generations; it produced horror in place of familiarity. Feeling desolate in the face of the left and right, I looked at the present day. It appeared to my heedless and historical eye as a coffin bearing my half-dead, suffering and desperately struggling corpse. Then, despairing from that direction as well, I raised my head and looked at the top of the tree of my life, and that was my corpse; it stood at the top of the tree and was watching me. Feeling horror at this direction, too, I bowed my head. I looked to the foot of the tree of my life, to its roots, and saw that the soil there, the earth which was the source of my creation and the dust of my bones mixed together, was being trampled underfoot. That was no remedy, it only added further pain to my affliction.
 6. My state of mind at that time prompted me to write a supplication in Persian. It was printed in Ankara, in a treatise entitled, Hubab.
  1. 294
 Then I was forced to look behind me. I saw that this unstable, transient world was tumbling, disappearing, into the valleys of nothingness and the darkness of non-existence. While seeking a salve for my pain, it only added poison. Since I could see no good in that direction I looked in front of me, I sent foreward my view to the future. I saw that the door of the grave was to be seen open right in the middle of my path; it was watching me with its mouth agape. The highway beyond it which stretched away to eternity, and the convoys travelling that highway struck the eye from the distance. And apart from a limited will as my support and defensive weapon in the face of the horrors coming from these six directions, I had nothing.
 Since the faculty of will, man's only weapon against those innumerable enemies and endless harmful things, is both defective, and short, and weak, and lacks the power to create, man is capable of nothing apart from 'acquisition'. Thus, it could neither pass to the past in order to silence the sorrows which came to me from there, nor could it penetrate the future to prevent the fears which came from there. I saw that it was of no benefit for my hopes and pains concerning the past and future. 
 At the time I was struggling in the horror, desolation, darkness and despair coming from these six directions, the lights of belief which shine in the sky of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition suddenly came to my assistance. They lit up and illuminated those six directions to such a degree that if the terrors and darkness I had seen increased a hundredfold, the light would still have been sufficient to meet them. One by one it transformed all those horrors into solace and the desolation into familiarity. It was as follows:
 Belief rent asunder the desolate view of the past as a vast grave, and showed it with utter certainty to be a familiar and enlightened gathering of friends.
 And belief showed the future, which had appeared in the form of a huge grave to my heedless eyes, to be most certainly a banquet of the Most Merciful One in delightful palaces of bliss.
 And belief rent the view of present time as a coffin, as it had appeared to my heedless view, and showed it with certainty to be a place of trade for the Hereafter and a glittering guest-house of the All-Merciful One.
 And belief showed with utter certainty that the only fruit at the top of the tree of life was not a corpse as had appeared to my neglectful eye, but that my spirit, which would manifest eternal life and was designated for eternal happiness, would leave its worn-out home to travel around the stars.
  1. 295
 And through its mystery, belief showed that my bones and the earth which was the source of my creation were not valueless pulverized bones trampled underfoot, but that the soil was the door to Divine Mercy and veil before the hall of Paradise.
 And through the mystery of the Qur'an, belief showed that the world which had appeared to my heedless eye as tumbling behind me into nothingness and non-existence to consist of missives of the Eternally Besought One and pages of decorations and embroideries glorifying God which had completed their duties, stated their meanings, and left their results in existence in their place. It made known with complete certainty the true nature of the world.
 And through the light of the Qur'an, belief showed that the grave which would open its eyes and look at me in the future was not the mouth of a well, but that it was the door to the world of light, and that the highway which stretched to eternity beyond it led not to nothingness and non-existence, but to existence, a realm of light, and eternal bliss. Since belief demonstrated this to a degree which afforded utter conviction, it was both a remedy and a salve for my afflictions.
 And in place of a very minor ability to receive, belief puts a document into the hand of the limited faculty of will through which it may rely on an infinite Power and be connected to a boundless Mercy in the face of those innumerable enemies and layers of darkness. Indeed, belief is a document in the hand of man's will. And although this human weapon of will is in itself both short, and powerless, and deficient, just as when a soldier utilizes his partial strength on account of the state, he performs duties far exceeding his own strength, so too through the mystery of belief, if the limited faculty of will is used in the name of Almighty God and in His way, it may gain also a paradise as broad as five hundred years.
 And belief takes from the hands of the body the reins of the faculty of will, which cannot penetrate to the past and future, and hands them over to the heart and spirit. Since the sphere of life of the spirit and heart is not restricted to present time like the body, and included within it are a great many years from the past and a great many years from the future, the will ceases being limited and acquires universality. Just as through the strength of belief it may enter the deepest valleys of the past and repel the darkness of its sorrows, so also with the light of belief it may rise as far as the farthest mountains of the future, and remove its fears.
 And so my elderly brothers and sisters who are suffering the difficulties of old age like myself! Since, praise be to God, we are believers, and
  1. 296

in belief are found this many luminous, pleasurable, agreeable, and gratifying treasures; and since our old age impels us even more to the contents of the treasure, for sure, rather than complaining about old age accompanied by belief, we should offer endless thanks.

 At a time when grey hairs, the sign of old age, were appearing in my hair, the turmoil of the First World War, which made even heavier the deep sleep of youth, the upheaval of my captivity as a prisoner-of-war, the position of great fame and honour accorded to me on my return to Istanbul, and the kind treatment and attention far exceeding my due I received from everyone, from the Caliph, even, Shaykhu'l-Islam, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army to the students of religion, the intoxication of youth, and the mental state produced by my position made the sleep of youth so heavy that I quite simply saw the world as permanent and myself in a wonderful undying situation cemented to it.
 Then, one day in Ramadan, I went to Bayazid Mosque to listen to the sincere reciters of the Qur'an. Through the tongues of the reciters, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition was proclaiming with its exalted heavenly address the decree of:
 Every living creature shall taste death,7
 which most powerfully tells of man's death and that of all animate creatures. It entered my ear, penetrated to the depths of my heart and established itself there; it shattered my profound sleep and heedlessness. I went out of the mosque. Because of the stupor of the sleep which for a long time had settled in my head, for several days a tempest was now raging in it, and I saw myself as a boat with smoking boilers and compass spinning. Every time I looked at my hair in the mirror, the grey hairs told me: "Take note of us!" And so the situation became clear through the warnings of my grey hairs.
 I looked and saw that my youth which so captivated me with its pleasures and in which I so trusted was bidding me farewell, and that this worldly life which I so loved and with which I was so involved was beginning to be extinguished, and that the world with which I was closely connected and of which I was quite simply the lover was saying to me: "Have a good journey!", and was warning me that I would be leaving this guest-house. Itself, too, was saying "Good-bye," and was preparing to depart. From the indications of the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition's verse,
 7. Qur'an, 21:35 etc.
  1. 297
 Every living creature shall taste death,
 the following meaning was unfolding in my heart: the human race is a living creature; it shall die in order to be resurrected. And the globe of the earth is a living creature; it also will die in order to take on an eternal form. And the world, too, is a living creature; it will die in order to assume the form of the Hereafter.
 So, while in this state, I considered my situation. I saw that youth, which is the source of pleasure, was departing; while old age, the source of sorrow, was approaching; that life, which is so shining and luminous, was taking its leave; while death, which is terrifying and apparently darkness, was preparing to arrive; and that the lovable world, which is thought to be permanent and is the beloved of the heedless, was hastening to its decease.
 In order to deceive myself and again plunge my head into heedlessness I considered the pleasures of the social standing I enjoyed in Istanbul, which was far higher than my due, but there was no advantage in it at all. All the regard, attention, and consolation of people could only come as far as the looming door of the grave; there it would be extinguished. And since I saw it as a tedious hypocrisy, cold conceit, and temporary stupefaction under the embellished veil of glory and renown, which is the illusory aim of those who chase fame, I understood that these things which had deceived me until then could provide me with no solace, there was no light to be found in them at all.
 I again started to listen to the reciters in Bayazid Mosque in order to hear the Qur'an's heavenly teaching, and to awaken once more. Then from its sublime instruction I heard good news through sacred decrees of the sort,
 And give glad tidings to those who believe...8
 Through the effulgence of the Qur'an, I sought consolation, hope, and light, not outside them, but within the points at which I had felt horror, desolation and despair. A hundred thousand thanks be to Almighty God, I found the cure within the malady itself, I found the light within the darkness itself, I found the solace within the horror itself.
 Firstly, I looked in the face of death, which is imagined to be the most terrible thing and terrifies everyone. Through the light of the Qur'an I saw that although death's veil is black, dark, and ugly, for believers its true face is luminous and beautiful. We have proved this truth decisively in many parts of the Risale-i Nur. For example, as we explained in the
 8. Qur'an, 2:25 etc.
  1. 298
 Eighth Word and the Twentieth Letter, death is not annihilation, it is not separation, it is rather the introduction to eternal life, its beginning. It is a rest from the hardships of life's duties, a demobilization. It is a change of residence. It is to meet with the caravan of one's friends who have already migrated to the Intermediate World; and so on. I saw death's true, beautiful face through truths like these. It was not with fear that I looked at death's face, indeed, in a sense, it was with longing. I understood one meaning of the Sufis' 'contemplation of death.'
 Then I looked at my departed youth-youth, which makes everyone weep with its passing, which infatuates them and fills them with desire, causing them to pass it in sin and heedlessness. I saw that within its beautiful embroidered garb was a most ugly, drunken, stupified face. Had I not learnt its true nature, instead of intoxicating and amusing me for a few years, if I remained in the world a hundred years, it would have made me weep that long. Just as one such peson said lamenting: 
 "If only one day my youth would return, I would tell it of the woes old age has brought me."
 Indeed, elderly people like the one above who do not know the true nature of youth, think of their own youth, and weep with regret and longing. But when youth belongs to believers with sound minds and hearts, so long as they spend it on worship, good works, and trade for the Hereafter, it is the most powerful, agreeable and pleasant means of securing that trade and those good works. And for those who know their religious duties, and do not misspend their youth, it is a most precious and delightful Divine bounty. When it is not spent in moderation, uprightness, and fear of God, it contains many dangers; it damages eternal happiness and the life of this world. Indeed, in return for the pleasures of one or two years' youth, it causes many years of grief and sorrow in old age.
 Since for most people youth is harmful, we elderly people should thank God that we have been saved from its dangers and harm. Like everything else, the pleasures of youth depart. If they have been spent on worship and good works, the fruits of such a youth remain perpetually in their place and are the means of gaining youth in eternal life.
 Next, I considered the world, with which most people are infatuated and to which they are addicted. Through the light of the Qur'an, I saw that the world has three faces, one within the other:
 T h e F i r s t looks to the Divine Names; it is a mirror to them
 I t s S e c o n d F a c e looks to the Hereafter, and is its tillage.
 I t s T h i r d F a c e this looks to the worldly; it is the playground of the heedless.
  1. 299
 Moreover, everyone has his own vast world in this world. Simply, there are worlds one within the other to the number of human beings. But the pillar of everyone's private world is his own life. Whenever his body gives way, his world collapses on his head, it is doomsday for him. Since the heedless and neglectful do not realize that their world will be so quickly destroyed, they suppose it to be permanent like the general world and worship it. I thought to myself: "I too have a private world that will swiftly collapse and be demolished like the worlds of other people. What value is there in this private world, this brief life of mine?"
 Then, through the light of the Qur'an, I saw that both for myself and everyone else, this world is a temporary place of trade, a guest-house which is every day filled and emptied, a market set up on the road for the passers-by to shop in, an ever-renewed notebook of the Pre-Eternal Inscriber which is constantly written and erased, and every spring is a gilded letter, and every summer a well-composed ode; that it is formed of mirrors reflecting and renewing the manifestations of the All-Glorious Maker's Names; is a seed-bed of the Hereafter, a flower-bed of Divine Mercy, and a special, temporary workshop for producing signboards which will be displayed in the World of Eternity.
 I offered a hundred thousand thanks to the All-Glorious Creator Who had made the world in this way. And I understood that while love for the beautiful, inner faces of the world which look to the Hereafter and Divine Names had been given to mankind, since they spent it on its transient, ugly, harmful, heedless face, they manifested the meaning of the Hadith: "Love of this world is the source of all transgression."9
 And so, O elderly people! I realized this truth through the light of the All-Wise Qur'an, and the warnings of my old age, and belief opening my eyes. And I have demonstrated it with decisive proofs in many places in the Risale-i Nur. I experienced a true solace, powerful hope, and shining light. I was thankful for my old age. And I was happy that my youth had gone. You too do not weep, but offer thanks. Since there is belief and the truth is thus, it should be the heedless who weep and the misguided who lament.
 In the First World War, as a prisoner, I was in the distant province of Kosturma in north-eastern Russia. There was a small mosque there belonging to the Tatars beside the famous River Volga. I used to become wearied among my friends, the other officers. I craved solitude, yet I 
 9. al-Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa 1099; Suyuti, al-Duraru'l-Muntathira 97; Isfahani, Khilyatu'l-Awliya vi, 388; al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir iii, 368 no: 3662.
  1. 300

could not wander about outside without permission. Then they took me on bail to the Tatar quarter, to that small mosque on the banks of the Volga. I used to sleep in the mosque, alone. Spring was close. I used to be very wakeful during the long, long nights of that northern land; the sad plashing of the Volga and the mirthless patter of the rain and the melancholy sighing of the wind of those dark nights in that dark exile had temporarily roused me from a deep sleep of heedlessness. I did not yet consider myself old, but those who had experienced the Great War were old. For those were days that, as though manifesting the verse:

 A day that will turn the hair of children grey,10 
 made even children old. And while I was forty years old, I felt myself to be eighty. In those long, dark nights and sorrowful exile and melancholic state, I despaired of life and of my homeland. I looked at my powerlessness and aloneness, and my hope failed.
 Then, while in that state, succour arrived from the All-Wise Qur'an; my tongue said: 
 God is enough for us; and how excellent a guardian is He.11
 And weeping, my heart cried out: "I am a stranger, I am alone, I am weak, I am powerless: I seek mercy, I seek forgiveness, I seek help from You, O my God!"
 And, thinking of my old friends in my homeland, and imagining myself dying in exile there, like Niyazi Misri, my spirit poured forth these lines:
 Fleeing the world's grief,
 Taking flight with ardour and longing,
 Opening my wings to the void,
 Crying with each breath, Friend! Friend!
 It was searching for its friends.
 Anyway... My weakness and impotence became such potent intercessors and means at the Divine Court on that melancholy, pitiful, separation-afflicted, long night in exile that now I still wonder at it. For several days later I escaped in the most unexpected manner, on my own, not knowing Russian, across a distance that would have taken a year on foot. I was saved in a wondrous fashion through Divine favour, which was bestowed as a consequence of my weakness and impotence. Then, passing through Warsaw and Austria, I reached Istanbul, so that to be saved in this way so easily was quite extraordinary. I completed the long flight
 10. Qur'an, 73:17.
 11. Qur'an, 3:173.
  1. 301

with an ease and facility that even the boldest and most cunning Russian-speakers could not have accomplished.

 And that night in the mosque on the banks of the Volga made me decide to pass the rest of my life in caves. Enough now of mixing in this social life of people. Since finally I would enter the grave alone, I said that from now on I would chose solitude in order to become accustomed to it.
 But, regretfully, things of no consequence like my many and serious friends in Istanbul, and the glittering worldly life there, and in particular the fame and honour granted me, which were far greater than my due, made me temporarily forget my decision. It was as though that night in exile was a luminous blackness in my life's eye, and the glittering white daytime of Istanbul, a lightless white in it. It could not see ahead, it still slumbered. Until two years later, Ghawth-i Geylani opened my eyes once more with his book Futûhu'l-Ghayb.
 And so, O elderly men and women! Know that the weakness and powerless of old age are means for attracting Divine grace and mercy. The manifestation of mercy on the face of the earth demonstrates this truth in the clearest fashion, just as I have observed it in myself on numerous occasions. For the weakest and most powerless of animals are the young. But then it is they who receive the sweetest and most beautiful manifestation of mercy. The powerlessness of a young bird in the nest at the top of a tree-the manifestation of mercy-employs its mother like an obedient soldier. Its mother flies all around and brings it its food. When with its wings growing strong the nestling forgets its impotence, its mother says to it: "Go and find your own food now!", and no longer listens to it.
 Thus, like this mystery of mercy is in force for young, so also is it in force for the elderly, who resemble young in regard to weakness and impotence. I have had experiences which have given me the absolutely certain conviction that just as the sustenance of infants is sent to them in wondrous fashion by Divine mercy on account of their impotence, being made to flow forth from the springs of breasts, so too the sustenance of believing elderly, who acquire innocence, is sent in the form of plenty. This truth is also proved by the Hadith which says: "If it was not for your elderly folk with their bent backs, calamities would have descended on you in floods."12 It states both that a household's source of plenty is its elderly inhabitants, and that it is the elderly that preserve the household from the visitation of calamities. 
 12. al-Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa ii, 163; al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir v, 344 no: 7523; al-Bayhaqi, al-Sunanu'l-Kubra iii, 345. 
  1. 302
 Since the weakness and impotence of old age are thus the means of attracting Divine mercy to this extent; and since with its verses:
 Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. * And out of kindness, lower the wing of humility, and say: "My Sustainer! Bestow on them Your mercy even as they cherished me in childhood,"13
 the All-Wise Qur'an summons children most miraculously in five ways to be kind and respectful towards their elderly parents; and since the religion of Islam commands respect and compassion towards the elderly; and since human nature also requires respect and compassion towards the aged; we elderly people certainly receive significant, constant mercy and respect from Divine grace and human feeling, in place of the fleeting physical pleasures and appetites of youth, and spiritual pleasures arising from respect and compassion. Since that is the case, we should not exchange this old age of ours for a hundred youths. Yes, I can tell you certainly that were they to give me ten years of the Old Said's youth, I would not give one year of the New Said's old age. I am content with my old age, and you too should be content with yours!
 At one time after returning from being held as a prisoner-of-war, I was overcome by heedlessness for a year or two in Istanbul. The politics of the day directed my attention away from myself and scattered it on the outside world. Then one day, I was sitting on a high spot overlooking the valley of the Eyüb Sultan graveyard in Istanbul when I was overcome by a state of mind in which, while I was looking down on it, it seemed my private world was dying and my spirit withdrawing in certain respects. I said: "I wonder if it's the inscriptions on the gravestones which is giving me such illusions?", and I withdrew my gaze. I looked not at the distance, but at the graveyard. Then the following was imparted to my heart: "This graveyard around you is Istanbul a hundred times over, for Istanbul has been emptied here a hundred times. You cannot be saved from the command of the All-Wise and Powerful One Who has poured all the people of Istanbul into here; you cannot be an exception; you too will depart."
 I went out from the graveyard and with those awesome thoughts entered a small cell in Sultan Eyüb Mosque where I had stayed many times before. I thought to myself, I am a guest in three respects: I am a guest in this tiny room, I am also a guest in Istanbul, and a guest in this
 13. Qur'an, 17:23-4.
  1. 303

world. A guest has to think of the road. In the same way that I shall leave this room, so one day I shall leave Istanbul, and yet another day I shall depart from this world.

 While in this state of mind, I, my heart, was overwhelmed by a most pitiful, grievous sorrow. I was not losing only one or two friends; I would be parted from thousands of people I loved in Istanbul, and I would also part from Istanbul, which I loved much. And like I would be parted from hundreds of thousands of friends in this world, so I would also leave the beautiful world, with which I was captivated and I loved. While pondering over this, I climbed once more to the place in the graveyard. Having been to the cinema from time to time in order to take lessons, that moment, all the dead of Istanbul appeared to me to be walking around, like the cinema shows in the present the images of the past; so too all the people I could see at that time appeared to be corpses walking around. My imagination told me: since some of those in the graveyard appear to be walking around as though on the cinema-screen, you should see the people of the present, who are bound to enter the graveyard in the future, as though they have entered it; they too are corpses, walking around.
 Suddenly through the light of the Qur'an and through the guidance of Ghawth al-A'zam, Shaykh Geylani, my grievous state was transformed into a joyful and happy one. It was like this:
 The light proceeding from the Qur'an gave me the following thought in the face of that pitiful state: you had one or two officer friends while a prisoner-of-war in exile in Kosturma in the north-east. You knew that those friends would in any event go to Istanbul. If one of them had asked you: "Will you go to Istanbul, or will you stay here?" For sure if you had had a jot of intelligence, you would joyfully have chosen to go to Istanbul. For out of a thousand and one friends, nine hundred and ninety-nine were already in Istanbul. Only one or two remained there, and they too would leave. Going to Istanbul for you would not be a sad departure and sorrowful separation. Moreover you came here and were you not happy to do so? You were delivered from the long, dark nights and cold, stormy winters in that enemy country. You came to Istanbul, a worldly paradise.
 In exactly the same way, from your childhood to your present age, ninety-nine out of a hundred of those you love have migrated to the graveyard, which terrifies you. You have one or two friends still in this world, and they too will depart for there. Your death in this world is not separation; it is union; it is to be reunited with all those friends. I was reminded, they, that is those immortal spirits, have left behind under the earth their worn-out dwellings, and some of them are travelling about the stars and some in the levels of the Intermediate Realm.
  1. 304
 Yes, the Qur'an and belief proved this truth so certainly that if you are not entirely lacking heart and spirit, and misguidance has not suffocated your heart, you should believe it as though seeing it. For most certainly and self-evidently the All-Generous Maker Who adorns this world with innumerable sorts of gifts and bounties, and demonstrates His dominicality munificently and compassionately, and preserves even the least significant things like seeds, would not annihilate or send to nothingness or waste man as unkindly and purposely as it superficially appears, for he is the most perfect, comprehensive, important, and beloved among His creatures. Rather, like the seeds a farmer scatters on the earth, the Compassionate Creator temporarily casts that beloved creature of His under the ground, which is a door of mercy, in order to produce shoots in another life.14
 And so, 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 Sariyer on the Bosphorus. There, Ghawth al-A'zam (May God be pleased with him) became a master, doctor, and guide for me with his Futuhu'l-Ghayb, while Imam-i Rabbani (May God be pleased with him) became a companion, sympathetic friend, and teacher with his Mektûbat (Letters). Then I was extremely happy I had approached old age, withdrawn from civilization, and slipped free of social life. I thanked God.
 And so, 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, both old age is agreeable, and illness, and death. 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 Abdurrahman15 in a villa on the hill at Çamlica in Istanbul. From the point of view of worldly life, my situation could have been thought to be the most happy 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
 14. This truth has been proved as clearly as twice two equals four in other parts of the Risale-i Nur, and especially in the Tenth and Twenty-Ninth Words.
 15. Abdurrahman was the son of Bediuzzaman's elder brother, Abdullah. He was born in Nurs in 1903. 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.)
  1. 305

propagating knowledge in the most elevated way suitably to my profession, the learned profession. The honour and esteem afforded me was far greater than my due. I was living in Çamlica, 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 started again. As a result, I began to study the circumstances and causes to which I felt geniune attachment and which I supposed were the means to happiness in this world. But whichever of them I studied, I saw that it was rotten; it was not worth the attachment; it was deceptive. Around that time, I suffered an unexpected and unimaginable act of disloyalty and unfaithfulness at the hands of a friend whom I had supposed to be most loyal. I felt disgust at the world. I said to myself: "Have I been altogether deceived? I see that many people look with envy at our situation, which in reality should be pitied. Are all these people crazy, or is it me that has gone crazy so that I see all these worldly people as such?"
 Anyway, as a result of this severe awakening caused me by old age, first of all I saw the transitoriness of all the ephemeral things to which I was attached. And I looked at myself, and I saw myself to be utterly impotent. So then my spirit declared, which desires immortality and was infatuated with ephemeral beings imagining them to be immortal: "Since I am a transient being with regard to my body, what good can come of these ephemeral things? Since I am powerless, what can I await from these powerless things? What I need is one who is Eternal and Enduring, one who is Pre-Eternal and All-Powerful, who will provide a remedy for my ills." And I began to search.
 Then, before everything, I had recourse to the learning I had studied of old, I began to search for a consolation, a hope. But unfortunately, up to that time I had filled my mind with the sciences of philosophy as well as the Islamic sciences, and quite in error had imagined those philosophical sciences to be the source of progress and means of illumination. However, those philosophical matters had greatly dirtied my spirit and been an obstacle to my spiritual development. Suddenly, through Almighty God's mercy and munificence, the sacred wisdom of the All-Wise Qur'an came to my assistance. As is explained in many parts of the Risale-i Nur, it washed away and cleansed the dirt of those philosophical matters.
  1. 306
 For instance, the spiritual darknesses arising from science and philosophy plunged my spirit into the universe. Whichever way I looked seeking a light, I could find not a gleam in those matters, I could not breathe. And so it continued until the instruction in Divine Unity given by the phrase from the All-Wise Qur'an "There is no god but He" dispersed all those layers of darkness with its brilliant light, and I could breathe with ease. But relying on what they had learnt from the people of misguidance and philosophers, my soul and Satan attacked my reason and my heart. All thanks be to God, the ensuing debate with my soul resulted in the victory of my heart. Those exchanges have been described in part in many parts of the Risale-i Nur. And so, deeming them to be sufficient, here I shall explain only one proof out of thousands in order to show one thousandth part of that victory of the heart. In this way it may also cleanse the spirits of certain elderly people which have been dirtied in their youth, and their hearts sickened and souls spoilt, by matters which though called Western philosophy or the sciences of civilization, are in part misguidance and in part trivia. And through Divine Unity, they may be saved from evil of Satan and the soul. It is as follows:
 My soul said in the name of science and philosophy: "According to the nature of things, the beings in the universe intervene in other beings. Everything looks to a cause. The fruit has to be sought from the tree and seed from the soil. So what does it mean to seek the tiniest and least insignificant thing from God and to beseech Him for it?"
 Through the light of the Qur'an, the meaning of Divine Unity then unfolded in the following way: like the greatest thing, the tiniest and most particular proceeds directly from the power of the Creator of the whole universe and emerges from His treasury. It cannot occur in any other way. As for causes, they are merely a veil. For in regard to art and creation, sometimes the creatures we suppose to be the smallest and least important are greater than the largest creatures. Even if a fly is not of greater art than a chicken, it is not of lesser art. In which case, no difference should be made between great and small. Either all should be divided between material causes, or all should be attributed at once to a single Being. And just as the former is impossible, the latter is necessary and imperative. 
 For if beings are attributed to a single Being, that is to a Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One, since His knowledge, the existence of which is certain by reason of the order and wisdom in all beings, encompasses everything; and since the measure of all things is determined in His knowledge; and since observedly beings which are infinitely full of art continuously come into existence from nothing with infinite ease; and since in accordance
  1. 307

with innumerable powerful evidences that All-Knowing All-Powerful One is able to create anything whatever through the command of 'Be! and it is' as simply as striking a match, and as is explained in many parts of the Risale-i Nur and proved particularly in the Twentieth Letter and at the end of the Twenty-Third Flash, He possesses unlimited power-since this is the case, the extraordinary ease and facility which we observe arises from that all-encompassing knowledge and vast power.

 For example, if a special solution is applied to a book written in invisible ink, that huge book suddenly demonstrates its existence visibly and makes itself read. In just the same way, the particular form and appointed measure of everything is determined in the all-encompassing knowledge of the Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One. Through the command of 'Be! and it is' and with that limitless power of His and penetrating will, like spreading the solution on the writing, the Absolutely All-Powerful One applies a manifestation of His power to the being which exists as knowledge and with utter ease and facility gives it external existence; He displays and makes read the embroideries of His wisdom.
 If all things are not all together attributed to that Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One, the One Knowing of All Things, then as well as having to gather together in a particular measure from most of the varieties of beings in the world the body of the tiniest thing like a fly, the particles which work in that tiny fly's body will have to know the mysteries of the fly's creation and its perfect art in all its minutest details. For as all the intelligent agree, natural causes and physical causes cannot create out of nothing. In which case, if they do create, they will gather the being together. And since they will gather it together-whatever animate being it is, there are within it samples of most of the elements and most of the varieties of beings, for living creatures are quite simply like a seed or essence of the universe-it will of course be necessary for them to gather together a seed from the whole tree and an animate being from the whole face of the earth sifting them through a fine sieve and measuring them with the most sensitive balance. And since natural causes are ignorant and lifeless, and have no knowledge with which to determine a plan, index, model, or programme according to which they can smelt and pour the particles which enter the immaterial mould of the being in question, so they do not disperse and spoil its order, it is clear how far it is from possibility and reason to suppose that, without mould or measure, they can make the particles of the elements which flow like floods remain one on the other in the form of an orderly mass without dispersing, for everything has a single form and measure amid possibilities without calculation or count. For sure, everyone who does not suffer from blindness in
  1. 308

his heart will see it. Yes, as a consequence of this truth, according to the meaning of the verse,

 Those on whom you call besides God cannot create [even] a fly, if they all met together for the purpose.16,17
 if all material causes were to gather together and if they possessed will, they could not gather together the being of a single fly and its systems and organs with their particular balance. And even if they could gather them together, they could not make them remain in the specified measure of the being. And even if they could make them remain thus, they could not make those minute particles, which are constantly being renewed and coming into existence and working, work regularly and in order. In which case, self-evidently, causes cannot claim ownership of things. That is to say, their True Owner is someone else.
 Indeed, their True Owner is such that, according to the verse,
 Your creation and your resurrection is as a single soul,18
 He raises to life all the living beings on the face of the earth as easily as He raises to life a single fly. He creates the spring as easily as He creates a single flower. For He has no need to gather things together. Since He is the owner of the command of 'Be! and it is'; and since every spring He creates from nothing the innumerable attributes, states, and forms of the innumerable beings of spring together with the elements of their physical beings; and since He determines the plan, model, index, and programme of everything in His knowledge; and since all minute particles are in motion within the sphere of His knowledge and power; He therefore creates everything with infinite ease as though striking a match. And nothing at all confuses its motion so much as an iota. And minute particles are like a regular, well-ordered army in the same way that the planets are an obedient army.
 Since they are in motion relying on that pre-eternal power, and function in accordance with the principles of that pre-eternal knowledge, those works come into existence in accordance with the power. And they therefore cannot be deemed insignificant by considering their unimportant individualities. For through the strength of being connected to that power, a fly can kill off a Nimrod, and an ant can destroy the Pharaoh's palace, and the minute seed of the pine bears on its shoulder the burden of the pine-tree as tall as a mountain. We have proved this truth in numerous
 16. Qur'an, 22:73.
 17. That is, "Should all the things you call upon and worship other than God were to gather together, they could not create so much as a fly."
 18. Qur'an, 32:28.
  1. 309

places in the Risale-i Nur: just as through his enlistment in the army and being connected to the king, an ordinary soldier can take another king prisoner, exceeding his own capacity a hundred thousand times, so too, through being connected to pre-eternal power, all things can manifest miracles of art exceeding the capacity of natural causes hundreds of thousands of times.

 I n S h o r t : The fact that all things come into existence with both infinite art and infinite ease shows that they are the works of a Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One possessing all-encompassing knowledge. Otherwise, it would not be coming into existence with a hundred thousand difficulties, but leaving the bounds of possibility and entering those of impossibility, nothing could even come into existence, indeed, their coming into existence would be impossible and precluded.
 And so, through this most subtle, powerful, profound, and clear proof, my soul, which had been a temporary student of Satan and the spokesman for the people of misguidance and the philosophers, was silenced, and, all praise be to God, came to believe completely. It said:
 Yes, what I need is a Creator and Sustainer Who possesses the power to know the least thoughts of my heart and my most secret wishes; and like He will answer the most hidden needs of my spirit, will transform the mighty earth into the Hereafter in order to give me eternal happiness, and will remove this world and put the Hereafter in its place; and will create the heavens as He creates a fly; and as He fastens the sun as an eye in the face of the sky, can situate a particle in the pupil of my eye. For one who cannot create a fly cannot intervene in the thoughts of my heart and cannot hear the pleas of my spirit. One who cannot create the heavens, cannot give me eternal happiness. In which case, my Sustainer is He Who both purifies my heart's thoughts, and like He fills and empties the skies with clouds in an hour, will transform this world into the Hereafter, make Paradise, and open its doors to me, bidding me to enter. 
 And so, my elderly brothers who as a result of misfortune, like my soul, have spent part of their lives on lightless Western materialist philosophy and science! Understand from the sacred decree of "There is no god but He" perpetually uttered by tongue of the Qur'an, just how powerful and true and unshakeable and undamageable and unchanging and sacred a pillar of belief it is, and how it disperses all spiritual darkness and cures all spiritual wounds!
 It is as though my including this long story among the doors of hope of my old age was involuntary. I did not want to include it, indeed, I held back from doing so because I thought it would be tedious. But I may say that I felt compelled to write it. Anyway, to return to the main topic:
  1. 310
 In consequence of grey hairs appearing in my hair and beard and of a loyal friend's unfaithfulness, I felt a disgust at the pleasures of Istanbul's worldly life which was so glittering and superficially agreeable and gilded. My soul searched for spiritual pleasures in place of the pleasures with which it was obsessed. It wanted a light, a solace, in this old age, which in the view of the heedless is cold, burdensome, and disagreeable. And all praise be to God and a hundred thousand thanks, just as I found true, lasting, and sweet pleasures of belief in "There is no god but He" and in the light of Divine Unity in place of all those false, disagreeable, fleeting worldly pleasures, so too through the light of Divine Unity, I saw old age which in the view of the heedless is cold and burdensome to be most light, and warm, and luminous.
 And so, O you elderly men and women! Since you have belief and since you pray and offer supplications which illuminate and increase belief, you can regard your old age as eternal youth. For through it you can gain eternal youth. The old age which in truth is cold, burdensome, ugly, dark, and full of pain is the old age of the people of misguidance, indeed, their youth as well. It is they who should weep with sighs and regrets. While you, respected believing elderly people, should joyfully offer thanks saying: "All praise and thanks be to God for every situation!"
 One time, I was being held in the district of Barla in the province of Isparta in a distressing captivity under the name of exile, in a truly wretched state suffering both illness, and old age, and absence from home, and in a village alone with no one, barred from all company and communication. Then, in His perfect mercy, Almighty God bestowed a light on me concerning the subtle points and mysteries of the All-Wise Qur'an which was a means of consolation for me. With it, I tried to forget my pitiful, grievous, sad state. I was able to forget my native land, my friends and relations, but alas, there was one person I could not forget, and that was Abdurrahman, who was both my nephew, and my spiritual son, and my most self-sacrificing student, and my bravest friend. He had parted from me six or seven years previously. Neither he knew where I was so that he could hasten to help and console me, nor did I know his situation so that I could correspond with him and we could confide in each other. Now in my old age, I was in need of someone loyal and self-sacrificing like him.
 Then out of the blue someone gave me a letter. I opened it and saw it was from Abdurrahman, written in a way which showed his true self.
  1. 311
 Clearly showing three instances of wonder-working, part of it has been included among the pieces of the Twenty-Seventh Letter. It made me weep, and it still makes me weep. The late Abdurrahman wrote in the letter seriously and sincerely that he was disgusted with the pleasures of the world and that his greatest desire was to reach me and look to my needs in my old age just as I had looked to his when he was young. He also wanted to help me with his capable pen in spreading the mysteries of the Qur'an, my true duty in this world. He even wrote in his letter: "Send me twenty or thirty treatises and I'll write out twenty or thirty copies of each and get others to write them."
 His letter made me feel very hopeful in respect of the world. Thinking that I had found a bold student who was so intelligent as to be a genius and would assist me more loyally and closely than a true son, I forgot my tortuous captivity, loneliness, exile, and old age.
 He had obtained a copy of the Tenth Word on belief in the Hereafter before writing the letter. It was as if the treatise had been a remedy for him curing all the spiritual wounds he had received during those six or seven years. He then wrote the letter to me as if he was awaiting his death with a truly strong and shining belief. Then one or two months later while thinking of once again passing a happy worldly life together with Abdurrahman, alas, I suddenly received news of his death. I was so shaken by the news that five years later I am still under the effect of it. It afflicted me with a grief, sorrow, and sense of separation far exceeding the tortuous captivity, aloneness, exile, old age, and illness I was then suffering. Half of my private world had died with the death of my mother, and now with Abdurrahman's death, the other half died. My ties with the world were now completely cut. For if he had lived, he could have been both a powerful help in my duties which looked to the Hereafter, and a worthy successor to fill my place completely after me, and a most self-sacrificing friend and consolation. He would have been my cleverest student and companion, and a most trustworthy protector and owner of the Risale-i Nur.
 Yes, in regard to humanity, such losses are extremely distressing and painful for people like me. It's true outwardly I was trying to endure it, but a fierce storm was raging in my spirit. If from time to time, solace proceeding from the Qur'an's light had not consoled me, it would not have been possible for me to endure it. At that time I used to wander alone in the mountains and valleys of Barla. Sitting in lonely places amid my sorrows, pictures of the happy life I had spent in former times with my loyal students like Abdurrahman passed through my imagination like the cinema; being swiftly affected due to old age and exile, they broke my resistance. Suddenly the sacred meaning of the verse,
  1. 312
 Everything shall perish save His countenance; His is the command, and to Him shall you return 19 was unfolded to me. It caused me to declare: "O Enduring One, it is You Who is Enduring! O Enduring One, only You are Enduring!", and truly consoled me.
 Then, as is described in the treatise, The Highway of the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH), through this verse's meaning while in that lonely valley and sad state, I saw myself at the head of three vast corpses:
 One was that I saw myself as a gravestone on the grave of the fifty-five dead Said's of my fifty-five years who had been buried in the course of my life.
 The second corpse was the vast corpse of all my fellow-men who had died since the time of Adam (UWP) and had been buried in the grave of the past. I saw myself as a miniscule living creature like an ant at the head of that corpse, wandering over the face of this century, which was like its gravestone.
 The third corpse was the greater world which, like human beings and the travelling worlds which every year die, would also-in accordance with the above verse-die; this was embodied before my imagination.
 Then the verse, 
 But if they turn away, say: "God suffices me, there is no god but He; in Him do I place my trust-He the Sustainer of the Throne [of Glory] Supreme!"20
 illuminated with its true solace and inextinguishable light that awesome vision arising from my grief at Abdurrahman's death; it came to my assistance with its allusive meaning, stating: since Almighty God exists, He takes the place of everything. Since He is Enduring, He is surely sufficient. A single manifestation of His grace takes the place of the whole world. And one manifestation of His light gives the meaning of life to the three vast corpses mentioned above, showing that they are not corpses, but having completed their duties, have departed for other worlds. This mystery has been explained in the Third Flash, so that sufficing with the above, here I only say that the two repetitions of the phrase: "O Enduring One, You are the Enduring One! O Enduring One, You are the Enduring One!", which illustrates the meaning of Everything shall perish save His countenance [to the end of the verse], saved me from that most grievous and sad state. It was like this:
 19. Qur'an, 28:88.
 20. Qur'an, 9:129.
  1. 313
 The first time I uttered "O Enduring One, You are the Enduring One!", it began a cure like a surgical operation amid the endless spiritual wounds arising from the passing of the world and of the friends in this world to whom I was attached, and from ties binding me being broken.
 The second time, the phrase "O Enduring One, You are the Enduring One!" was both a salve and an antidote for all those innumerable wounds. That is to say: "You are eternal. Let those who depart, do so; You are enough for me. Since You are Enduring, one manifestation of Your mercy is sufficient in the place of all things, which are transient. Since You exist, for one who knows of the connection with Your existence through belief, and through Islam acts in accordance with that relation, everything exists. Transience and decline, death and non-existence are a veil, a renewal; like travelling through different domains." Thinking this, my painful, sad, grievous, dark, awesome, separation-stained state of mind was transformed into a happy, joyful, pleasurable, luminous, lovable, familiar state. My tongue and heart, indeed through the tongue of disposition all the particles of my being, exclaimed: "All praise be to God!"
 One thousandth of that manifestation of mercy is this: I returned to Barla from that sorrowful valley and melancholy state of mind, where I saw that a young man called Kuleönlü Mustafa had come to ask me a few questions about the five daily prayers and ablutions. Although I did not accept visitors at that time, as though through a premonition, my spirit perceived his sincerity of spirit and the future valuable services he would perform for the Risale-i Nur,21 and I did not turn him away, I accepted him.22 It later became clear that Almighty God sent Mustafa to me as a
 21. With his fine pen, Mustafa's younger brother, Küçük Ali, wrote out more than seven hundred copies of parts of the Risale-i Nur, and himself became an Abdurrahman. He also trained many other Abdurrahman's.
 22. He truly showed that he was not only worthy of being accepted, but also worthy of the future.*
 * An event confirming that Ustad's prediction that Mustafa, the first student of the Risale-i Nur, was worthy of the future:
 The day preceding the eve of 'Id al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifices, Ustad was going to go out to take some air. When he sent me to fetch the horse, I said to him: "Don't you go down. I'll lock the door from the back, and go out from the wood-store." Ustad said: "No. You go out of the door." And he went down. After I had gone out, he bolted the door after me. I went out and he returned upstairs. He then slept. A while later Kuleönlü Mustafa arrived together with Haji Osman. Ustad was not accepting anyone, and he was not going to accept anyone. Especially at that hour, he would not have taken in two people together, but would have turned them away. Nevertheless, when our brother Kuleönlü Mustafa, whom we are talking about here, came with Haji Osman, it was as though the door said to him through the tongue of disposition: "Ustad will not accept you, but I'll open for you." And although it was bolted from the inside, the door opened of its own accord for Mustafa. That is to say, just as the future showed what Ustad had said about him: "Mustafa is worthy of the future" to be true, so also did the door testify to this.
 Signed: Husrev. 

Yes, what Husrev has written is correct and I confirm it. The door both greeted this blessed Mustafa in my place, and acceptepted him.

 Said Nursi
  1. 314

sample in place of Abdurrahman, who as a worthy successor would carry out completely the duty of a true heir in the work of the Risale-i Nur, as though saying: "I took one Abdurrahman from you, but I shall give you in return thirty Abdurrahman's like the Mustafa you see, who will be both students, and nephews, and spiritual sons, and brothers, and self-sacrificing comrades in this duty for religion."

 Yes, praise be to God, He gave me thirty Abdurrahman's. So I told myself: "O weeping heart! Since you have seen this sample and through him He has healed the most serious of your spiritual wounds, you should be sure that He will heal all the rest of the wounds that afflict you."
 And so my elderly brothers and sisters who like me have lost at the time of their old age a child or relative they love dearly, and who have to bear the searing sorrows of separation together with the burdens of old age! You have understood from my situation that while being much harsher than yours, it was cured and healed by a verse of the Qur'an. This being so, there are remedies to heal all your difficulties in the sacred pharmacy of the All-Wise Qur'an. If you have recourse to it through belief and make use of those remedies through worship, the heavy burdens of your old age and your sorrows will be lightened considerably.
 The reason for writing this long piece was to seek more prayers for Abdurrahman, not to weary you. Also, my purpose in showing my worst wound in an extremely grievous and unpleasant way which may upset you unduly and put you off, is to demonstrate what a wondrous remedy and brilliant light is the sacred antidote of the All-Wise Qur'an.
 In this Hope I shall describe an important scene from the course of my life; it is bound to be somewhat lengthy, so I hope you will not become bored or offended.
 After being saved from captivity in Russia during the Great War, service of religion in the Darü'l-Hikmet kept me in Istanbul for two or three years. Then through the guidance of the All-Wise Qur'an and spiritual influence of Ghawth al-A'zam and the awakening of old age, I felt a weariness at the civilized life of Istanbul and a disgust at its glittering social life. A feeling of longing for my native land drove me there, and thinking, since I am bound to die, let me die in my own country, I went to Van.
 23. It is a subtle 'coincidence' that the incident of the 'medrese'* which this Thirteenth Hope describes occurred thirteen years ago. 
 * Medrese: school where religious sciences were taught. See also, note 33, page 328. (Tr.) 
  1. 315
 Before everything, I went to visit my medrese in Van, the Horhor. I saw that the Armenians had razed it during the Russian occupation, like the rest of the buildings of Van. It was right under and adjacent to Van's famous citadel, which is a great monolith like a mountain. My true friends, brothers, and close students of the medrese were embodied before my eyes. Some of those self-sacrificing friends of mine had become actual martyrs, while others had died due to that calamity had become in effect martyrs.
 I could not restrain myself from weeping. I climbed to the top of the citadel which overlooking the medrese, towers above it to the height of two minarets, and I sat down. I went ba
  1. 316
  2. 317
 "These unendurable, searing separations which break patience and resistance surely make death preferable to life. The pains of life such as this cannot be borne."
 I then cast a glance over the six aspects and saw them all to be black. The heedlessness arising from my intense grief showed me the world to be terrifying, empty, desolate, and about to collapse over my head. My spirit sought a point of support in the face of innumerable hostile calamities. Its endless desires which stretch to eternity were seeking out something to satisfy them. While awaiting consolation in the face of the sorrow and grief arising from those endless separations and deaths, that endless devastation, suddenly the reality was manifested of the All-Wise Qur'an's verses:
 Whatever is in the heavens and on earth-let it declare the praises and glory of God; for He is Exalted in Might, the Wise. * To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: it is He Who gives life and death; and He has power over all things.26
 It saved me from that pitiful, terrible, sad, separation-stained imagining, and opened my eyes. I saw that the fruits at the tops of the fruit-trees were looking at me as though smiling. "Note us as well," they were saying. "Do not only look at the ruins." The verses' reality brought the following thought to mind:
 "Why does an artificial letter written in the form of a town by the hand of man, who is a guest on the page of Van's plain, being wiped out by a calamitous torrent called the Russian invasion sadden you to this extent? Consider the Pre-Eternal Inscriber, everything's True Owner and Sustainer, for His missives on this page of Van continue to be written in glittering fashion, in the way you used to see. Your weeping over those desolate ruins arises from the error of forgetting their True Owner, not thinking that men are guests, and imagining them to be owner."
 A door to reality opened up from that error, from that searing sight, and my soul was prepared to accept the reality completely. Like iron is plunged in the fire so that it softens and may be profited from, that grievous sight and terrible state were fire which softened my soul. Through the reality of the above verses, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition showed it the effulgence of the truths of belief, causing it to accept it.
 Yes, all thanks be to God, as is proved conclusively in parts of the Risale-i Nur like the Twentieth Letter, through the effulgence of belief in God, the reality of the verses gives a point of support to the spirit and
 26. Qur'an, 57:1-2.
  1. 318

heart which unfolds in relation to everyone's strength of belief. This was so powerful it afforded me a strength that could have confronted calamities a hundred times more dreadful than the situation I saw. It uttered this reminder: "Everything is subjected to the command of the True Owner of this country, your Creator. The reins of all things are in His hands. Your relation with Him is sufficient."

 On recognizing my Creator and relying on Him, all the things which had appeared hostile gave up their enmity, and the grievous things which had made me weep started to make me happy. And as we have demonstrated with certain proofs in many places of the Risale-i Nur, through the light proceeding from belief in the Hereafter, it gave such a point of assistance in the face of my endless desires that it was sufficient not only for my attachment and desire for insignificant, temporary, brief worldly friendships, but for my innumerable far-reaching desires in the world of permanence, for everlasting happiness through all eternity. For through one manifestation of His mercy, the All-Merciful and Compassionate One every spring lays on the table of that season incalculable numbers of delightful, artful bounties in order to please His guests for one or two hours. Then after providing them with these, which constitute a sort of snack or appetizer, He prepares for His servants innumerable varieties of bounties, and for an unending time fills eight permanent Paradises with them from among His everlasting dwelling-places. One who relies on the mercy of such an All-Merciful and Compassionate One through belief and knows his relation surely finds such a source of assistance that even its least degree provides for innumerable hopes reaching to eternity, and causes them to continue.
 Furthermore, through the reality of the verses, the light proceeding from the effulgence of belief was manifested in such brilliant fashion that it lit up those six dark aspects like daytime. It illuminated my sorrow for my students and friends in my medrese and in the town with this reminder: "The world your friends have gone to is not dark. They have merely gone somewhere else; you will meet again." It put an end to my tears entirely, and made me understand that I would find others resembling them in this world who would take their place.
 Yes, all praise be to God, He both raised to life the dead Van medrese with the medrese of Isparta, and He in meaning raised my friends there to life with the more numerous and valuable students and friends here. It also made known that the world is not empty and meaningless and that my thinking of it in the form of a country laid waste had been wrong: as required by His wisdom, the True Owner changes the artificial scenes made by man and renews His missives. Like the more the fruits of certain
  1. 319

trees are plucked, the more others grow in their places, death and separation in mankind also are renewal and change. From the point of view of belief, they are a renewal which produces not the grievous sorrow arising from the lack of friends, but a sweet sorrow arising from parting in order to meet again in another, better place.

 The verses also illuminated the face of the beings in the universe which had appeared dark in the former ghastly situation. I wanted to offer thanks for this, and the following Arabic lines occurred to me, which described that reality exactly. I said:
 "All praise be to God for the light of belief, which dispels the illusion of beings as hostile strangers, moribund and savage, as weeping orphans, and shows them to be loving brothers, living and familiar, joyfully employed in mentioning God's Names and glorifying Him."
 That is to say, due to the heedlessness resulting from my grievous state of mind, some of the beings in the universe appeared to my neglectful soul as hostile and strange, others as awesome corpses, and yet others as orphans weeping at their loneliness. Through the light of belief I saw these to be all friends and brothers. As for the awesome corpses, some were living and friendly, while others had been released from their duties. And seeing through the light of belief the wailing of the orphans to be the murmuring of remembrance and glorification of God, I offered endless praise and thanks to the Glorious Creator, Who gave me belief, the source of these innumerable bounties. And seeing that it is my right to think of all the beings in my personal world, which is as vast as the world, as being engaged in the praise and glorification of God, and through intention to make use of them, it means that I say "All praise and thanks to God for the light of belief" together with all those beings, who utter it singly and as a whole through the tongue of disposition.
 Moreover, the pleasures of life, which had been reduced to nothing by my heedless and dreadful state of mind, and my hopes, which had withered up entirely, and my personal enjoyment and bounties, which had been constricted within the narrowest bounds, indeed, destroyed, through the light of belief suddenly so expanded that narrow sphere around my heart that it contained the whole universe-as has been proved clearly in other parts of the Risale-i Nur-and in place of the bounties which had withered up in the garden of the Horhor Medrese and lost their taste, it made the realms of this world and the Hereafter each a merciful table of bounties. It showed not the ten or so human members like the eyes, ears, and heart, but the hundred members in the form of an extremely long arm which believers might extend each according to his degree, to those two tables of the Most Merciful, to gather in the bounties from all sides. At
  1. 320

that time, I uttered the following words both to express this elevated truth, and as thanks for those endless bounties:

 "To my very utmost, with all the particles of my being, I offer praise and thanks to my Creator for the light and bounty of belief, for it shows me that this world and the Hereafter are overflowing with bounties and mercy, and allows me and all true believers to benefit from those two vast tables with the hands of all their senses, which develop and unfold through the light of belief and Islam." 
 Since belief is so tremendously effective in this world, certainly in the Eternal Realm it will have such fruits and effulgences that they cannot be comprehended with the mind in this world, nor described.
 And so, you elderly people who like me due to old age experience the pains of separation from numerous friends! However much older than me in years the oldest of you is, my guess is that in meaning I am older than him. For since by nature I feel excessive pity for my fellow beings, because of that compassion, I have experienced the sufferings of thousands of my brothers in addition to my own pains and therefore feel as though I have lived for hundreds of years. However much you have suffered the calamity of separation, you have not been exposed to that calamity as much as I have. For I have no son that I should think only of him. I feel pain and sympathy in the face of the sorrows of thousands of Muslim sons, and even innocent animals, due to this excessive pity and compassion in my nature. I do not have a house of my own that I should think only of it. I am rather bound through Islamic zeal with this country and even the Islamic world, as though they were my house. I am saddened at the pains of my fellow Muslims in those two great houses, and am sorrowful at being parted from them!
 And so, the light of belief was sufficient for me and all my sorrows arising from old age and the pains of separation; it gave me an inextinguishable hope, an unassailable faith, an unquenchable light, unending solace. Belief then is certainly more than enough for you in the face of the darkness, heedlessness, sorrows, and griefs of old age. In reality, the old age which is utterly black and lacking in light and solace, and the most grievous and terrible separation, is the old age and separation of the people of misguidance and the dissipated. Experiencing the belief which affords such hope, light, and solace, and its effects, is possible through adopting a consciously worshipful attitude, worthy of old age and appropriate to Islam. It is not possible by trying to imitate the young, plunging one's head into heedlessness, and forgetting old age.
 Dwell on the Hadith, the meaning of which is: "The best of the youths
  1. 321

among you are those who imitate those of mature years, while the worst of your elderly are those who imitate the young."27 That is to say, "The best of your youths are those who resemble the elderly in self-restraint and abstaining from vice, while the worst of your elderly are those who resemble the young in plunging themselves into dissipation and heedlessness.

 My elderly brothers and sisters! There is a Hadith which says: "Divine mercy is ashamed to leave unanswered the prayers offered to the Divine Court by elderly believers of sixty or seventy years."28 Since Divine mercy holds you in such respect, you too be respectful towards this respect by performing your worship!
 The summary at the start of the Fourth Ray, on the luminous verse For us God suffices,29 describes how having been isolated from everything by 'the worldly', I was afflicted with five sorts of exile. Due to the heedlessness arising from distress, I looked not to the consoling lights of the Risale-i Nur which would have aided me, but directly to my heart, and I sought my spirit. I saw that an overpowering desire for immortality, an intense love of existence, a great yearning for life, together with an infinite impotence and endless want were ruling in me. But an awesome transience was extinguishing the immortality. Suffering such a state of mind, I exclaimed like the poet:
 While the heart desired its immortality, Reality wanted the passing of my body;
 I was afflicted with an incurable ill which not even Luqman could cure!
 I bowed my head in despair. Suddenly the verse, For us God suffices, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs came to my assistance, summoning me to read it with attention. So I recited it five hundred times every day. The more I recited it, of its many lights nine levels of its meanings were unfolded to me, not only at the level of 'certainty at the degree of knowledge,' but at that of 'certainty at the degree of witnessing.'
 The First Level of the Luminous Verse 'For us God suffices'
 Because of a shadow in my essential being of a manifestation of a Name of the One of Glory and Perfection, Who, possessing absolute
 27. Ali Mawardi, Adabu'd-Dunya wa'd-Din 27; Ghazzali, Ihya 'Ulumi'd-Din i, 142; al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir iii, 487.
 28. al-Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa i, 244; al-Haythami, Majma'u'z-Zawa'id x, 149.
 29. Qur'an, 3:173.
  1. 322

perfection, is of Himself and for no other reason worthy of love, I had an innate desire for immortality, directed not to my own immortality, but to the existence, perfection, and immortality of that Absolutely Perfect One. But due to heedlessness, that innate love had lost its way, become attached to the shadow and enamoured of the mirror of immortality. Then the verse, For us God suffices, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs raised the veil. I saw and felt and experienced at the degree of 'absolute certainty' that the pleasure and happiness of my immortality lay exactly and in more perfect form in the immortality of Enduring One of Perfection and in affirming my Sustainer and God, and in believing in Him, and submitting to Him. The evidence for this has been explained in the Fourth Ray, the treatise on the verse 'For us God suffices,' in twelve sections which are extremely profound and subtle and will fill with wonder those with fine sensibilities.

 The Second Level of the Luminous Verse 'For us God suffices'
 At a time when, in my old age, exile, aloneness, and isolation, 'the worldly' were attacking me with their spies and stratagems despite the boundless impotence of my nature, I told my heart: "Whole armies are attacking a single man whose hands are tied, and is ill and weak. Is there not something from which he can seek help?" I had recourse to the verse 'For us God suffices and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs,' and it informed me of the following:
 Through the document of belief, you become connected to a Ruler of Absolute Power Who every spring equips in perfect order all the plant and animal armies on the face of the earth composed of four hundred thousand different nations. In addition, He places in the 'extracts' of the Most Merciful known as seeds and grains, which are like the meat, sugar and other food 'extracts' discovered recently by the people of civilization but a hundred times more perfect, all the sustenance of the huge armies of foremost man, and of all the animals. He folds up inside those 'extracts' the instructions of Divine Determining concerning their cooking and development, and places them in their tiny protective cases. The creation of those tiny coffers is with such ease, speed, and abundance from the 'Kaf. Nûn' factory, which is governed by the command of "Be!" and it is, that the Qur'an states: "The Creator merely commands and it comes into being." Having a support such as that through the document of the relation of belief, you can rely on an infinite strength and power. As I assimilated this lesson from the verse, I found such a moral strength arising from belief that through its power I could have challenged not only my present enemies, but the whole world. With all my spirit I declared: "For us God suffices, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs!"
  1. 323
 The Third Level of the Luminous Verse 'For us God suffices.'
 At a time when, finding my attachment to the world to be broken due to suffering the oppression of those exiles and illnesses, belief recalled to me that I was destined for perpetual happiness in an eternal world, an everlasting realm, I gave up sighing regretfully, which caused further grief and yearning, and became cheerful and happy. However, this goal of the imagination and spirit and result of man's nature could only be realized through the infinite power of an Absolutely Omnipotent One Who knows and records the action and rest and conduct and states, in word and deed, of all creatures, and takes as His friend and addressee insignificant and absolutely impotent man, giving him a rank superior to all beings; it could only be realized through His infinite favours to man and the importance He gives him. While thinking of these two points, that is, the activity of such a power and the importance in reality of apparently insignificant man, I wanted an explanation which would deepen belief and satisfy the heart. Again I had recourse the verse, and it told me to note the "na," "For us," and to heed who is saying "For us God suffices" together with me.
 I at once looked and saw that innumerable birds and flies, which are miniature birds, and uncountable animals, and boundless plants and trees were, like me, reciting through the tongue of disposition "For us God suffices, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs." They recall to everyone the immensity and majesty of a Power which before our eyes particularly in the spring creates in most abundant plenitude, with the greatest ease and on a vast scale, from eggs, seeds, grains, and droplets of fluid, which all resemble each other and whose substance is the same, the hundred thousand species of birds, the hundreds of thousands of sorts of animals, the hundred thousand types of plants, and the hundred thousand varieties of trees, without error, defect, or confusion, in adorned, balanced, well-ordered fashion, and in forms all different from one another. Through their being made in this way together, one within the other and resembling each other, in the same way, they demonstrate to us His Unity and Oneness. I understood that any interference or participation in the dominical, creative act of disposal which displays thus incalculable miracles was not possible. Those who want to understand my personality and human character, which is like that of all believers, and those who want to be like me, should look at the explanation of the 'I' in the first person plural 'us' in For us God suffices, that is, the explanation of myself. What is my apparently insignificant, wanting being-like that of all believers? What is life? What is humanity? What is Islam? What is certain, verified belief? What is knowledge of God? How should love be? They should understand and take a lesson!
  1. 324
 The Fourth Level of the Luminous Verse 'For us God suffices'
 One time when events like old age, exile, illness, and defeat were shaking my being it coincided with a period of heedlessness. Causing me grievous anxiety that my being, to which I was intensely attached and with which I was captivated, indeed all creatures, were departing for non-existence, I once again had recourse to the verse. It told me: "Note my meaning carefully and look through the telescope of belief!"
 So I looked and with the eye of belief and saw that like all believers, my miniscule being was the mirror of a limitless being, and through infinite expansion, the means of gaining innumerable existences, and a word of wisdom producing the fruits of numerous permanent existences far more valuable than itself. I knew with 'certainty at the degree of knowledge' that in this connection to live for an instant was as valuable as an eternal existence. For through the consciousness of belief I understood that this being of mine was the work of art, artefact, and manifestation of the Necessarily Existent One. So being saved from the anxiety of loneliness and from innumerable separations and their pains, I formed relations and bonds of brotherhood with beings to the number of Divine acts and Names connected with beings and especially living beings, and I knew that there was a permanent union with all the beings I loved, and only a temporary separation. And so, through belief and the relations of belief, like all beings, my being gained the lights of innumerable existences untouched by separation. Even if it departed, they would remain behind it, and it would be happy as though it had remained itself.
 In short, death is not separation, it is union; it is a change of abode; it is the producing of an eternal fruit.
 The Fifth Level of the Luminous Verse 'For us God suffices'
 Another time when my life was being shaken by very harsh conditions, it directed my attention towards life. I saw that my life was departing at speed; the Hereafter was drawing close; due to the oppression I was suffering my life had started to be extinguished. As is explained in the section of the Risale-i Nur on the Divine Name of Ever-Living, I then thought sorrowfully of how with its important functions, and great benefits and virtues, life did not deserve to be so swiftly extinguished, but to persist a long time. I again had recourse to my master, the verse, For us God suffices, and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs. This time it told me: "Consider life from the point of view of the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One, Who gives you life!"
 So I looked and I saw that if the aspects of my life that looked to me were one, those looking to the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One were
  1. 325

a hundred. And if, of its results, one looked to me, a thousand looked to my Creator. Since this is the case, to live for one instant within the bounds of Divine pleasure is sufficient; a long time is not required. This truth may be explained in four matters. Those who are not dead or who want to be alive should seek the nature and reality of life and its true rights in those four matters; they will find them and be raised to life!

 A summary of it is this: the more life looks to the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One, and the more belief becomes the life and spirit of life, the more it becomes perpetual and produces enduring fruits. It also becomes so elevated that it receives the manifestation of eternity; it no longer looks to the brevity or length of a lifetime.
 The Sixth Level of the Luminous Verse 'For us God suffices'
 At a time when my advancing years and old age were giving warning of my particular parting amid the events of the end of time, which tell of the destruction of the world, the time of general parting, the feelings in my nature of love of beauty and passion for loveliness and fascination by perfection were unfolding in an extraordinarily sensitive manner. I saw with extraordinary clarity and sorrow that transience and decline, which are always destructive, and death and non-existence, which perpetually cause separations, were tearing apart this beautiful world and these beautiful creatures in terrible fashion, and destroying their beauty. The metaphorical love in my nature boiled up and rebelled against this situation. In order to find consolation, I again had recourse to the verse 'For us God suffices.' It told me: "Recite me and consider my meaning carefully!"
 So I entered the observatory of the verse in Sura al-Nur, 
 God is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth [to the end of the verse],30 
 and looked through the telescope of belief to the most distant levels of the verse 'For us God suffices', then through the microscope of the insight of belief at its most subtle mysteries, and saw the following:
 Mirrors, pieces of glass, transparent things, and even bubbles, show the various hidden beauties of the sun's light and of the seven colours in its light; and through their disappearance and renewal, and different capacities and refractions, they renew that beauty; and through their reflections, they display the hidden beauties and loveliness of the sun and its light. In exactly the same way, in order to act as mirrors to the sacred beauty of the All-Beauteous One of Glory, the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal Sun, and to the everlasting loveliness of His Most Beautiful
 30. Qur'an, 24:35.
  1. 326

Names, and to renew their manifestations, these beautiful creatures, these lovely artefacts, these exquisite beings, arrive and depart without stopping. Expounded in detail in the Risale-i Nur are powerful proofs demonstrating that the beauties apparent on them are not their own property, but the signs, indications, flashes, and manifestations of a transcendent, sacred beauty which wants to become manifest. The explanation begins by saying that three of those proofs have been mentioned briefly in most reasonable fashion. Leaving in amazement everyone of fine perception who sees the treatise, in addition to benefiting from it themselves, they find it necessary to try to allow others to benefit from it. In the second proof in particular, five points are explained. Anyone whose mind is not rotten and heart not corrupted, will appreciate, admire, and recommend them, exclaiming: "Ma'shallah! Barakallah!" All will perceive and confirm that it is a wondrous marvel which will exalt their apparently lowly, wanting beings.

 One time when I was in compulsory residence in Emirdag,32 on my own in what was virtually solitary confinement, I was wearied of life due to the torments they inflicted on me with their surveillance and arbitrary treatment, which I found hard to bear, and regretted having been released from prison. I longed for Denizli Prison with all my spirit, and I wanted to enter the grave. But while thinking, prison and the grave are preferable to life like this, and deciding to enter one or the other, Divine grace came to my assistance: it bestowed on the students of the Medresetü'z-Zehra,33 whose pens were like duplicating machines, one of the duplicating machines which had just appeared. All at once, five hundred copies of each of the valuable collections of the Risale-i Nur appeared through one pen. Their presaging new victories made me love that distressing life, causing me to offer unending thanks.
 A while later, unable to endure the Risale-i Nur's victories, its covert enemies prompted the government to act against us. Again life started to
 31. This Fifteenth Hope was written by a Nurju to complete in the future the Treatise For The Elderly, and as a source for its composition, since the period of the Risale-i Nur's writing had come to an end three years' previously.
 32. A small town in central Anatolia, where Bediuzzaman was exiled in 1944, following his release from Denizli Prison. He remained in compulsory residence here until 1951, with a break of twenty months in Afyon Prison, from January 1948 to September 1949. (Tr.)
 33. The name of the university Bediuzzaman strove throughout his life to found in eastern Anatolia, where the religious and modern sciences would be taught together. Although he received funds from Sultan Reshad and laid the foundations on the shores of Lake Van in 1911, it was not completed due to the outbreak of World War I. With the spread of the Risale-i Nur in the first decades of the Republic, Risale-i Nur Medreses, or places where the Risale-i Nur was studied or copies of it were written, opened throughout Turkey. Bediuzzaman then called the Risale-i Nur students, students of the Medresetü'z-Zehra. (Tr.)
  1. 327

become difficult for me. Then suddenly dominical grace was manifested: the officials connected with the case, who were those most in need of the Risale-i Nur, studied the confiscated copies of it in the course of their duties most curiously and carefully, and its treatises made their hearts feel biased towards it. On their beginning to appreciate it instead of criticizing it, the Risale-i Nur circle of study greatly expanded. It produced profits a hundred times greater than our material losses, reducing to nothing our anxiety and distress.

 Then, secret, hostile dissemblers directed the government's attention towards my person. They recalled my former political activities. They caused both the judiciary, and the education authorities, and the police, and the Home Affairs Office to be suspicious of me. Due to the different parties and the incitement of concealed communist anarchists, the suspicions became more widespread. They started to pressure us and arrest us, and confiscate parts of the Risale-i Nur which came into their hands. The activities of the Risale-i Nur students came to a standstill. A number of officials made false accusations which no one at all could believe. They tried to spread around the most extraordinary slander, but they could not make anyone believe it. 
 Then they arrested me during the most intensely cold days of winter on some trite pretext, and put me into solitary confinement in prison in a large and extremely cold ward, leaving me two days without a stove. Having been accustomed to light my stove several times a day in my small room, always having live coals in the brazier, with my illness and weakness I was only able to endure it with difficulty. While struggling in this situation suffering from both a fever from the cold, and a dreadful distress and anger, through Divine grace a truth unfolded in my heart. It uttered the following warning to my spirit:
 "You called prison the 'Medrese-i Yusufiya'-the School of the Prophet Joseph. And while in Denizli, things like relief a thousand times greater than your distress, and spiritual profit, and the other prisoners there benefiting from the Risale-i Nur, and its conquests on a larger scale, all made you offer endless thanks instead of complaining. They made each hour of your imprisonment and hardship like ten hours' worship, and made those passing hours eternal. God willing, those struck by calamity in this third 'School of Joseph' benefiting from the Risale-i Nur and finding consolation will heat this cold, severe distress of yours and transform it into joy. If those at whom you are angry are being deceived and are ill-treating you without realizing it, they are not worth being angry at. And if they are tormenting you and causing you suffering knowingly, out of spite and on account of misguidance, they will in a very
  1. 328

short time enter the solitary confinement of the grave through the eternal execution of death, to suffer everlasting torment and torture. On account of their oppression, you are earning both merit, and spiritual pleasures, and making transient hours eternal, and performing scholarly and religious duties with sincerity."

 With all my strength I exclaimed: "All praise be to God!" Out of humanity, I pitied those tyrants and prayed: "O my Sustainer, reform them!" As I wrote in my statement to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in this new incident those who in reality are guilty are the tyrants who in ten respects act unlawfully in the name of the law. They found the most extraordinary pretexts so that they showed to the fair-minded through their slanders and fabrications, which would have made those who heard them laugh and lovers of the truth weep, that they can find no way to attack the Risale-i Nur and its students in regard to the law and right, so deviate into lunacy.
 For instance, the officials who spied on us for a month could find nothing incriminating, so they wrote out a memorandum saying: "Said's servants bought raki from a shop and took it to him." They could not find anyone to sign the memo, but finally arrested a drunken stranger and got him to sign it under threat. Even he said: "God forgive us! Who would sign this extraordinary lie?" So they were compelled to tear it up.
 A S e c o n d E x a m p l e : Someone I did not know and still do not know, lent his horse so that I could go out. In the summer I would go out most days for a couple of hours, for my illness and in order to take some air. I had given my word that I would give the owner of the horse and phaeton books worth fifty liras, so as not to break my rule and become indebted to him. Is there any possibility of harm in such a thing? But then both the Governor, and the court officials, and the police asked us fifty times who the horse belonged to. As though it was some important political event affecting public security! In order to put a stop to this meaningless questioning, one person even said loyally that the horse was his and another, that the phaeton was his, and they were both arrested together with me. We watched numerous childish escapades like these two examples and laughed till we cried. And we understood that those who attack the Risale-i Nur and its students make fools of themselves.
 An amusing incident from among those examples: the reason written on the paper authorizing my arrest was "disturbing public order." Not having seen the document, I told the public prosecutor: "I slandered you last night. I said to a police officer who was questioning me for the Police Chief: 'If I haven't served this country's public security as much as a
  1. 329

thousand public prosecutors and a thousand police chiefs-three times-may God damn me!'"

 Then at that point, just when in those freezing conditions I was most in need of rest and not catching cold and not thinking of the world, I was overcome with anger and vexation at those who had sent me into this intolerable exile, isolation, imprisonment, and oppression, in a way that spelt out their hatred and ill-intentions. Divine grace came to my assistance, and the following was imparted to my heart:
 "Divine Determining, which is pure justice, has a large part in the wrongful oppression which these people are inflicting on you. And you have food to eat in this prison; that sustenance of yours called you here. It should be met with contentment and resignation. And dominical wisdom and mercy have a large part, which is to illuminate those in this prison and console them, and to gain you reward. This share should be met with endless thanks and patience. And your soul has a part in it, due to its faults which you did not know about. In the face of this part, you should tell your soul that it deserved this blow, through repentance and seeking forgiveness. And some of your secret enemies have a part in it, with their intrigues and deceiving certain ingenuous and suspicious officials and inciting them to such oppression. In the face of this share, the terrible immaterial blows dealt by the Risale-i Nur on those dissemblers have taken your revenge on them completely. That is enough for them. The final part is the officials who were the actual means. In the face of this share, for the sake of their benefiting from the Risale-i Nur in respect of belief, whether they wanted to or not, which they looked at with the intention of criticizing, to forgive them in accordance with the rule, 
 Those who suppress their anger and forgive people-verily God loves those who do good,34 
 is an act of magnanimity."
 Due to the complete happiness and feeling of thanks I received from this veracious warning, I decided to commit some harmless offence and so incur a prison sentence, in order to remain in this new 'School of Joseph' and to help even those who were opposed to me. For someone like me who was seventy-five years old, without attachment, and out of the seventy of those he loved in this world only five remained alive, the grave was a hundred times preferable to this prison. For seventy thousand copies of the treatises of the Risale-i Nur were in free circulation and would perform my duties connected with the Risale-i Nur, and I had
 34. Qur'an, 3:134.
  1. 330

brothers and heirs who would continue to serve belief with thousands of tongues in place of my one tongue. This prison too was a hundred times more comfortable and more beneficial than the unfree liberty outside subject to that tyranny and oppression. For in place of having to suffer all alone outside the arbitrary treatment of hundreds of officials, in prison, together with hundreds of other prisoners one only has to suffer the slight arbitrariness of one or two people like the prison governor and chief warder, which will secure benefits. And in the face of this, one receives the brotherly kindness and consolation of many companions in prison. Thinking that the compassion of Islam and human nature are shown as kindness to the elderly in such a position, thus turning the hardship of prison into mercy, I became resigned to prison.

 At the time I attended this third trial, because of my difficulty in remaining on my feet due to weakness, old age, and illness, I sat on a chair outside the door of the court. The judge suddenly appeared and angrily asked in insulting manner: "Why isn't he waiting standing?" I became angry at this unkindness in the face of old age. Then I looked and saw that a large number of Muslims had gathered around us and were watching with complete kindness and in brotherly fashion, and not dispersing. I was suddenly warned of the following two truths:
 T h e F i r s t : The covert enemies of myself and the Risale-i Nur had deceived certain ingenuous officials with the intention of putting a stop to the Risale-i Nur's conquests by destroying the public's good opinion of me, which in any event I did not want, and of destroying my character in the people's view; they had prompted those officials to act contemptuously towards me in that way. See these hundred people in place of that one man's insults! In return for the Risale-i Nur's service to belief-as a Divine favour-they are kindly offering their sympathy by appreciating your service, and both welcoming you and seeing you off. Even, while in the examining magistrate's office on the second day of the trial answering the public prosecutor's questions, around a thousand people gathered in the courtyard opposite the court windows, showing their concern; they appeared to be telling them through the tongue of disposition not to pressurize us. The police could not make them disperse. It was imparted to my heart that in this dangerous age these people want a true solace, an inextinguishable light, a powerful belief, and certain good news about eternal happiness, and that they search for these by nature. They must have heard that what they are searching for is to be found in the Risale-i Nur so that they show my unimportant person much more attention than I deserve because I have performed some small services for belief.
  1. 331
 S e c o n d T r u t h : I was reminded that in return for the ill-treatment a few contemptuous, deceived individuals inflicted on us with the intention of insulting us and destroying public regard for us, due to their unfounded suspicions of our disturbing public order, was the applause and appreciation of innumerable people of reality and forthcoming generations.
 Yes, through the strength of certain, verified belief, in every part of this country the Risale-i Nur and its students halt the awesome corruption and efforts of anarchy to destroy public order under the veil of communism. They work to maintain public order and security so that these twenty years three or four related courts and the police of ten provinces have not been able to find or record any incidents involving the infringement of public order connected with the Risale-i Nur students, who are very numerous and found in every part of the country. And the fair-minded police of three provinces stated: "The Risale-i Nur students are moral police. They assist us in preserving public order. Through certain, verified belief, they leave in everyone's head who reads the Risale-i Nur something that restrains them from committing misdemeanours. They work to maintain public order."
 An example of this was Denizli Prison. When the Risale-i Nur entered there and the Fruits of Belief was written for the prisoners, within a space of three or four months more than two hundred of those prisoners became so extraordinarily obedient and acquired such religious and righteous conduct that a man who had murdered three or four people held back from even killing bedbugs. They became completely compassionate, harmless members of the nation. The officials were astonished at this situation and looked on in appreciation. Some youths even said before receiving their sentences: "If the Nurjus remain in prison, we shall try to have ourselves convicted so that we can be taught by them and become like them. We shall reform ourselves through their instruction."
 So those who accuse the Risale-i Nur students, who are thus, of disturbing public order are surely seriously deceived, or have been fooled, or knowingly or unknowingly are deceiving the government on account of anarchy, and try to crush and repress us. We say this to them: 
 "Since death is not to be killed, and the grave is not to be closed, and the travellers in this guest-house of the world, convoy after convoy, enter the earth with great speed and ado, and vanish; for sure we shall part from one another very soon. You shall receive the penalty for your tyranny in awful fashion. At the very least you shall mount the gallows of death and eternal extinction, which form the discharge papers of the oppressed
  1. 332

people of belief. The fleeting pleasures you have received in this world imagining them to be everlasting, will be transformed into everlasting, grievous pains."

 Regretfully, our secret dissembling enemies sometimes attach the name of "Sufism" to the reality of Islam, which has been gained and preserved through the swords and blood of the hundred million martyrs at the rank of saints, and heroic war veterans of this religious nation. While the way of Sufism is only a single ray of that sun, they show it to be the sun, and deceive certain lax government officials. Calling the Risale-i Nur students "Sufis" and "members of a political society"-because they work effectively for the truths of the Qur'an and belief-they want to incite them against us. We say to them, and to those who listen to them against us, what we told the just court at Denizli:
 "Let us too be sacrificed for this sacred truth for which hundreds of millions of others have been sacrificed! Even if you set fire to the world around us, we who sacrifice ourselves for the truths of the Qur'an will not lay down our arms before atheism; we shall not abandon our sacred duty, God willing!"
 And so, because of the sacred solace for the pains and despair of the adventures of my old age arising from belief and the Qur'an, I would not exchange this most distressing year of my old age for ten of the happiest years of my youth. Especially since each hour in prison of those who repent and perform the obligatory prayers become like ten hours' worship, and with respect to merit, each transient day spent in illness and oppression gains ten days of perpetual life. I thus understood from those warnings just how deserving of thanks are these days for someone like me awaiting his turn at the door of the grave. I exclaimed: "Endless thanks be to my Sustainer!," and was happy at my old age and pleased with my imprisonment. For life does not stop, it passes swiftly. If it passes in pleasure and happiness, since the passing of pleasure is pain, it becomes transient, passing without thanks and in heedlessness; leaving in their place sins, its departs. Whereas if it passes in prison and hardship, since the passing of pain is a sort of pleasure, and since it is considered to be a sort of worship, it becomes perpetual in one respect, and through its good fruits gains everlasting life. It becomes atonement for the mistakes that were the cause of past sins and imprisonment, and purifies them. From this point of view, those among the prisoners who perform the compulsory parts of the obligatory prayers should offer thanks in patience.
  1. 333
 One time in my old age, I was released from Eskishehir Prison after serving a years' sentence. They exiled me to Kastamonu,35 where I stayed for two or three months as a guest in the police station. It may be understood how much torment someone like me suffered in a place like that, who was a recluse, wearied by seeing even his loyal friends, and could not endure the changes in dress.36 And so, while suffering this despair, Divine grace suddenly came to the assistance of my old age. The inspector and police in the police station became like firm friends. They not once warned me about not wearing a peaked cap, and like my servants, used to take me for trips around the town.
 Then I took up residence in Kastamonu's 'Risale-i Nur Medrese,' opposite the police station, and started to write further parts of the Risale-i Nur. Heroic Risale-i Nur students like Feyzi, Emin, Hilmi, Sâdik, Nazif, and Salâhaddin, attended the Medrese in order to duplicate the treatises and disseminate them. We held scholarly debates even more brilliant than those I had practised in my youth with my old students.
 Then our hidden enemies aroused the suspicions of some officials and some egotistical hojas and shaykhs concerning us. They caused us and Risale-i Nur students from five or six provinces to be gathered together in the 'School of Joseph' of Denizli Prison. The details of this Sixteenth Hope are described clearly in the brief letters I sent secretly to my brothers while in Denizli Prison, in those sent from Kastamonu, and in the collection containing the court defence speeches. So referring the details to those letters and to my defence speech, I shall allude to it only very briefly here:
 I hid the confidential and important collections, and particularly those about the Sufyan and the Risale-i Nur's wonder-working, under the coal and fire-wood so that they might be published after my death or after the authorities had come to their senses and listened to the truth. Then, when feeling easy at this, some detectives and the assistant public prosecutor suddenly raided my house. They pulled out those secret and important treatises from under the wood, then arrested me and sent me to Isparta Prison, although I was in bad health. While greatly upset and sad at the harm that had come to the Risale-i Nur, Divine grace came to our aid.
 35. A provincial centre in the Ilgaz Mountains to the north of Turkey. Bediuzzaman was exiled here in March 1936, after being released from Eskishehir Prison. He remained in Kastamonu for seven years, until 1943, when he was sent to Denizli Prison. (Tr.)
 36. This refers to the compulsory adoption of European dress following the Dress Laws passed in the first years of the Republic. The 'Hat Act' of 1925 banned the wearing of all headgear other than European-style hats. (Tr.)
  1. 334
 The authorities carefully and curiously began to read those important treatises which had been hidden, of which they were in much need, and the government offices became like Risale-i Nur study centres. Having started to read with the idea of criticizing, they began to appreciate them. In Denizli even, although we were unaware of it, numerous people read the printed edition of Ayetü'l-Kübra [The Supreme Sign], officially and unofficially, and strengthened their belief. This reduced to nothing the calamity of prison we were suffering.
 Later they took us to Denizli Prison, and put me into solitary confinement in a stinking, cold, damp ward. I was most unhappy at my old age and illness and the difficulties visited on my friends because of me, and most distressed at the confiscations of the Risale-i Nur and the cessation in its activities, when Divine grace suddenly came to my aid. It transformed that huge prison into a Risale-i Nur 'Medrese', proving it was a 'School of Joseph.' The Risale-i Nur started to spread through the diamond pens of the heroes of the Medresetü'z-Zehra.37 The great hero of the Risale-i Nur even, in those severe conditions, wrote out more than twenty copies of the Fruits of Belief and the Defence Speeches Collection in the space of three or four months. The conquests began both within the prison and outside. It transformed our losses in that calamity into significant gains and our distress into joy. It once again showed the meaning of the verse, 
 But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you.38
 Then we were subject to severe criticisms because of the incorrect and superficial statements of the first Experts Committee, and in addition to the Education Minister's savage attacks, a statement was published against us. And just when according to some reports they were even trying to secure the execution of some of us, Divine grace came to our assistance. Chiefly, while expecting a severely critical report from the Experts Committee in Ankara, they sent a commendatory one. And although they found less than ten errors in five chests of copies of the Risale-i Nur, we proved in court that the points they had shown to be errors were completely correct, and that they themselves had been in error in the matters they said were wrong; we showed between five and ten errors and mistakes in their five pages of report. And while awaiting severe reprisals in the face of the Fruits of Belief and Defences Collection, which we had sent to seven government offices, and the entire Risale-i Nur which had been sent to the Ministry of Justice, and especially in return for the effective, stinging slaps dealt by the confidential treatises, they responded
 37. See note 33, page 328.
 38. Qur'an, 2:216.
  1. 335

extremely leniently, and like the even consoling letter sent to us by the Prime Minister, they were most conciliatory and did not attack us. This proved decisively that as a miracle of Divine grace, the truths of the Risale-i Nur had defeated them, making them study its treatises like a guide. It made those broad circles into a sort of study circle and saved the belief of numerous hesitating and bewildered people, causing us spiritual joy and profit far exceeding our distress.

 Then our hidden enemies poisoned me; and the late Hafiz Ali, the martyr hero of the Risale-i Nur, went to hospital instead of me, travelled to the Intermediate Realm in my place, and made us weep despairingly. Before this calamity had occurred, on many occasions I had insisted on the mountain at Kastamonu: "My brothers, you don't give meat to the horse and grass to the lion!" That is to say: "Don't give all the treatises to everyone, lest they use them to attack us." Although Hafiz Ali (May God have mercy on him) was around seven days away on foot, as though he heard with his spiritual telephone, that same time he was writing to me: "Yes, Ustad, it is a wonder of the Risale-i Nur's that horses should not be given meat, nor lions, grass. Rather, since horses should be given hay, and lions meat, he gave that lion-like Hoja the treatise on Sincerity." I received his letter seven days later. We worked it out, and at the same time I was shouting it out on the mountain, he was writing the strange words in his letter.
 Thus, just at the time that hero of the Risale-i Nur died, and we were being pressurized by the secret dissemblers who were trying to have us punished through their intrigues against us, and we were anxious that I would be sent to hospital on official orders because I was ill from poison, Divine grace came to our assistance. Through the sincere prayers of my blessed brothers the danger to my life from the poison passed; and according to powerful signs our martyr was occupied in his grave with the Risale-i Nur, and replied with the Risale-i Nur to the questioning angels; and the Denizli hero, Hasan Feyzi (May God have mercy on him), who would work according to Hafiz Ali's system, and his friends were secretly serving the Risale-i Nur effectively; and because the other prisoners were being reformed by the Risale-i Nur, even our enemies supported our being released from prison; and like the Companions of the Cave, the Risale-i Nur students turned that place of ordeal into a cave of the ascetics of former times; all this, together with their endeavours in writing out and disseminating the Risale-i Nur with easy hearts, proved that Divine grace had come to our aid. 
 It also occurred to my heart that since a great interpreters of the Law like Imam-i A'zam had suffered imprisonment; and a supreme mujahid
  1. 336

like Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal had been severely tortured in prison for the sake of a single matter of the Qur'an, and had endured it in perfect patience, not remaining silent about the matter in question; and numerous religious leaders and scholars had been completely patient and unshaken, offering thanks, despite suffering torments far greater than yours; for sure you are obliged to offer endless thanks for the very few difficulties you suffer, although the reward and gain you receive is great for those many truths of the Qur'an. Yes, I shall describe briefly a manifestation of Divine grace amid man's wrongful tyranny:

 When I was twenty years old I used to say repeatedly: "Towards the end of my life I shall withdraw from the life of society into a cave or onto a mountain like those who abandoned the world and withdrew into caves in olden times." And when during the former Great War I was being held as a prisoner in the north-east, I took this decision: "I shall spend my life after this in caves. I shall slip away from political and social life. Enough now of mixing in them." At that point both dominical grace and the justice of Divine Determining were manifested. In a way far better than my decision and wish, compassionately for my old age, it transformed the caves I had imagined into prisons, places of seclusion, loneliness in places of ordeal and solitary confinement. It bestowed on me 'Schools of Joseph' and places of solitary confinement where my time would not be wasted which were far superior to the mountain caves of ascetics and recluses. It gave both the benefits pertaining to the Hereafter of the cave, and strenuous service of the truths of belief and the Qur'an. I had even determined to show myself guilty of some crime and remain in prison after my friends had been released. Solitaries like Husrev and Feyzi would have remained with me, and on some pretext I would have remained in the ward for solitary confinement in order not to meet with people and waste my time on unnecessary conversation and egotistical artificiality. But then Divine Determining and our fate sent us to another place of ordeal. In accordance with the verse,
 But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you;
 And the saying: "Good lies in what God chooses," out of compassion for my old age and in order to make us work harder in the service of belief, duties were given us outside our will and power in this third 'School of Joseph.'
 Yes, there are three instances of wisdom and important benefits in respect of the service of the Risale-i Nur in Divine grace turning-out of compassion for my old age-the caves particular to my youth, when I had no powerful, hidden enemies, into the solitary confinement of prison:
  1. 337
 F i r s t I n s t a n c e o f W i s d o m a n d B e n e f i t : At this time it is possible for the Risale-i Nur students to gather together without harm only in the 'School of Joseph.' Outside it is expensive and causes suspicion if they meet together. Some of those who came to visit me even, would spend forty or fifty liras, then either seeing me for only twenty minutes or not at all would have to return. I would have willingly chosen the hardship of prison in order to be closer to some of my brothers. This means that for us prison is a bounty and instance of mercy.
 S e c o n d I n s t a n c e o f W i s d o m a n d B e n e f i t : The service to belief at this time through the Risale-i Nur has to be through advertising it everywhere and attracting the attention of those in need. Thus, attention is attracted to the Risale-i Nur through our imprisonment; it is like an advertisement. The most stubborn or those in most need find it and save their belief; their obduracy is broken and they are saved from danger, and the Risale-i Nur's circle of study is widened.
 T h i r d I n s t a n c e o f W i s d o m a n d B e n e f i t : The Risale-i Nur students who are sent to prison learn from one another's conduct, qualities, sincerity, and self-sacrifice, and they no longer seek worldly benefits in their service of the Risale-i Nur. Yes, since in the 'School of Joseph' they have seen with their own eyes the ten and perhaps a hundred benefits gained for every hardship and difficulty, and the good results, and the extensive and sincere service to belief, they are successful in attaining pure sincerity, and no longer lower themselves by seeking minor, personal benefits.
 A subtle but sad, yet at the same time agreeable, point concerning these places of ordeal that concerns myself only is this: I observe the same situation here that I saw in the old medreses in my native region in my youth. For traditionally in the Eastern Provinces, a part of the medrese students' needs were met from outside. In some medreses, they were cooked in the medrese. And there were other ways that they resembled this place of ordeal. As I watch the prison here, feeling a pleasurable regret and longing, I travel in my imagination to those former sweet times of youth, and forget the difficulties of old age.
 * * *
  1. 338
 This is the Twenty-First Letter, which, having been included in The Letters, has not been added here.
 * * *


 This is the defence speeches from the Eskishehir trials, which have been published in the hand-duplicated editions of The Flashes, and in part in the Tarihçe-i Hayat.1
 * * *
 1. Bediuzzaman's 'official' biography, prepared during his lifetime by his students: Risale-i Nur Külliyati Müellifi, Bediüzzaman Said Nursî, Hayati, Mesleki, Tercüme-i Hâli. Istanbul, Sözler Yayinevi, 1976. (Tr.)
  1. 339


 [This comprises some of the short pieces I wrote as consolation for my brothers who were (in the ward) opposite me in Eskishehir Prison, at a time I was forbidden to mix with them or speak with them.]
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
 An amusing and absorbing conversation with Süleyman Rüshtü,1 famous for his fidelity and distinguished by his sincerity of heart
 A Small Point Concerning an Important Verse
 It was autumn and approaching the time when flies are discharged from their duties, and because of their minor annoyance, selfish humans were employing chemicals in my prison cell in order to eliminate them. It aroused a sharp pity in me. There was a washing-line in my cell. However, in order to thwart the humans the flies multiplied even more. In the evening those miniature birds would be lined up in most orderly fashion on the line. When he wanted to hang up the washing, I said to Rüshtü: "Don't disturb those little birds; hang it somewhere else." To which he replied, completely seriously: "We need the line; let the flies find somewhere else for themselves."
 Anyhow... In the early morning a discussion started in connection with this exchange about the very numerous small creatures like flies and ants. I said the following to him:
 1. Süleyman Rüshtü Çakin, 1899-1974. He was born in Isparta, where he was the Director of the Tax Assessment Office. He became one of Bediuzzaman's close students, and was imprisoned together with him in Eskishehir and Denizli.
  1. 340
 The species whose copies are thus numerous have important duties and great value, like the copies of a book are multiplied in relation to the book's importance. That is to say, the species of flies have important duties and great value so that the All-Wise Creator has greatly multiplied those tiny missives of Divine Determining and copies of the words of Divine power. The All-Wise Qur'an states:
 O men! Here is a parable set forth; listen to it! Those on whom you call besides God cannot create [even] a fly, if they all met together for the purpose! And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition!2
 That is to say, if those things claimed to be gods by the people of misguidance were to gather together all causes and false gods apart from God Almighty, they would be unable to create even a fly. That is, the creation of a fly is such a dominical miracle and clear sign to the act of creation that even if all causes were to assemble they would be unable to make anything like it or to duplicate it, and would be unable to dispute that dominical sign.
 Flies, which form an important subject in the above verse, defeated Nimrod, and when Moses (Upon whom be peace) complained about their bothering him, saying: "O my Sustainer! Why have You so greatly increased the numbers of these irritating creatures?", the following answer came to him through inspiration:
 "You have objected about the flies once while the flies have asked many times: 'O our Sustainer! This man has a huge head, yet he praises You with only one tongue. And sometimes he neglects to do that. If you had created us out of only his head, there would have been creatures like us praising You with thousands of tongues!'"
 Moreover the flies, which thus defended the wisdom in their creation against Moses' complaint with sufficent power to withstand a thousand such objections, also pursue great cleanliness. These insects continually wash their faces, eyes, and wings as though taking ablutions, and have important duties. The common view is short-sighted; it is still unable to comprehend those duties.
 Indeed, Almighty God has created a most orderly group of carniverous beings which are sorts of public health officials; they cleanse the seas by gathering up the corpses of other sea-creatures3 that die every day in their
 2. Qur'an, 22:73.
 3. One fish produces thousands of eggs and thousands of young. Therefore, so that the equilibrium with the seas is maintained, sometimes from the number of young fish hatching from a roe consisting of a million eggs those that survive will equal the fish that die. Furthermore, it is a manifestation of Divine compassion that because of the great difference in size between the mother fish and her young, she is unable to superintend them; she cannot enter the places they hide. And so, the All-Wise and Compassionate One promotes from among the young one to be their supervisor, and employs that tiny creature in the duties of the mother.
  1. 341

millions, and prevent the sea from becoming polluted and disgusting with their corpses. If those public health officals of the sea did not carry out their extremely regular duties, the sea would not sparkle like a mirror; it would rather display a sad and touching turbidity.

 Also, Almighty God has created carniverous and carr
  1. 342
 extensive wisdom is the fact that they are extremely numerous. For valuable and beneficial things are multiplied.4
 O you self-centred human being! Apart from the thousands of instances of wisdom in the creation of flies, consider the following small benefit that concerns you and leave off your hostility towards them. For just as they offer you some familiarity in your exile, solitude and loneliness, so do they also warn you against sliding into heedlessness and your thought wandering. You see flies that through their delicate manner and their washing their faces and eyes as though taking ablutions are giving you a lesson and reminding you of human duties like action and cleanliness.
 Moreover, bees, which may be thought of as a sort of fly, give you honey to eat, which is the sweetest and most delicate of bounties. And since, as is stated by the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition, they have been distinguished by receiving Divine inspiration, to be hostile towards them while they should be loved, rather to be hostile towards creatures that suffer all sorts of difficulties in always hastening in friendship to assist man is wrongful and unjust. We may combat harmful creatures only to repel their harm. We fight wolves to protect sheep from their attack, for example.
 Mosquitoes and fleas fall upon the turbid blood flowing in the veins polluted by harmful substances, indeed they are charged with consuming the polluted blood, so in hot weather when there is blood surplus to the body's needs, why should they not be natural cuppers? It is possible...
 Glory be to Him at Whose art the mind is bewildered!
 At one time when I was struggling with my evil-commanding soul, imagining the bounties which it saw in itself to be its own property, my soul became conceited, proud and boastful. I said to it: "This property is not yours; it is in trust." So then the soul gave up its conceit and pride but became lazy, it said: "Why should I bother about someone who is not mine? Let him perish, what is it to me?" Suddenly I saw that a fly had alighted on my hand and had started to thoroughly clean its eyes, face, and wings, which were its trust from God. The fly was washing itself just like a soldier cleans his rifle and uniform thoroughly, which belong to the state. I said to my soul: "You look at that!" It looked and learned a good lesson. As for the fly, it became my conceited and lazy soul's teacher and instructor.
 4. How beautifully and subtly the following lines by the celebrated Yunus Emre allude to the wonderful works of dominical art that are the fly's wings and body: "I loaded a single fly's wing onto forty ox carts; Forty of them could not haul it; it remainded thus decreed."
  1. 343
 Fly excretion is not harmful medically; in fact, sometimes it is sweet syrup. For it is not distant from dominical wisdom, it is indeed a function of that wisdom, that while flies contain thousands of different harmful substances, microbes, and poisons through what they have eaten, they are like tiny transforming and purifying machines. Apart from bees, there are other species of flying insects5 that eat various putrid substances and then continuously excrete droplets of syrup in place of the filth. Transforming those rotten, poisonous substances into a sweet and healing syrup like a confection of Divine power that rains onto the leaves of trees, they prove that they are machines for transmuting one substance into another. They demonstrate before the eyes what a mighty nation and group are these tiny individuals. Through the tongues of their beings they say: "Do not look at our smallness, consider the vastness of our species, and declare, 'All Glory be to God!'"
 * * *
 5. At the end of spring there is one species of small fly which is created in the form of a black mass that becomes stuck to the branches of almond and wild apricot trees, and remains there. In place of waste matter, droplets continously flow from the flies. These drops are like honey and other species of flies gather round them suck them up.
 Yet another species are employed in the pollination of the flowers of plants and some trees, like the fig. Just as the fire-fly, which is a sort of fly that flashes, sparkles, and is luminous, is worthy of observation, so do other species that are gilded and glisten like gold deserve notice. Also, we must not forget flies armed with lances, and wild bees, which are like brigands. If the All-Merciful Creator had not pulled in their reins, if they attacked human beings like fleas, in the same way that those armed species killed Nimrod, so would have they also assailed the human race and expounded the implicit meaning of the verse, And if the fly should snatch away anything from them. Thus, the hundred famous species of flies like these bearing special qualities are of great importance so that this mighty verse makes them its subject:
 O men! Here is a parable set forth; listen to it! Those on whom you call besides God cannot create [even] a fly, if they all met together for the purpose! And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition!
  1. 344
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Verily, when He intends a thing, His command is "Be!" and it is.1
 As this verse indicates, creation is through a command. The treasuries of Divine Power are in the Kaf. and Nûn.2 Several of the many aspects of this subtle mystery have been mentioned in various places of the Risale-i Nur. Here, in order to make more comprehensible in this century's materialist view Hadiths about the characteristics, qualities, and material effects of the Qur'an's letters, and particularly the 'disjointed letters' at the start of some Suras, we shall illustrate this mystery with a material example.
 The All-Glorious One, the Owner of the Sublime Throne, has four Thrones by which He directs the creatures on the earth, which is like a centre of the world and heart and qibla of the universe:
 One is the Throne of Preservation and Life, which is earth. This is the manifestation of the Divine Names of Preserver and Giver of Life.
 The Second Throne is the Throne of Bounty and Mercy, which is the element of water.
 The Third is the Throne of Knowledge and Wisdom, which is the element of light.
 The Fourth is the Throne of Will and Command, which is the element of air.
 We see with our own eyes that from simple earth, the minerals and innumerable various plants are formed, through which are met the innumerable needs of animals and human beings-boundless multiplicity from unity with perfect order, an infinite variety of species from a simple element, innumerable regular embroideries on a plain page. And while water, and especially the sperm of animals, is a simple fluid like water, innumerable miracles of art become manifest through it in the many various animate creatures. This shows that like these two Thrones, despite their simple nature, light and air too are the places of manifestation of the wondrous miracles of the pen of knowledge, command, and will of the Pre-Eternal Inscriber, the All-Knowing One of Glory.
 For now we shall leave aside the element of light, and in connection with our question here, try to unveil a little the wonders and marvels of Command and Will within the element of air, which is for the globe of the earth the Throne of the Divine Command and Will.
 1. Qur'an, 36:82.
 2. The two letters of the Arabic alphabet in the word "Kun!", that is, "Be!" [trans.]
  1. 345
 With the air in our mouths, we sow letters and words which at once sprout and send forth shoots. That is to say, in a instant, in no time at all, a word becomes a seed in the air, sprouting in the surrounding air. It produces the shoots of innumerable instances of the same word, great and small, in the air all around. We consider the element of air and we see that it is so obedient and subjugated to 'the command of "Be!" and it is' that it is as if like a soldier in a regular army, each of its particles is all the time awaiting its orders, demonstrating its compliance with and submission to commands manifested from 'the command of "Be!", arriving instantaneously from another particle far off.
 For example, the fact that human speech may be heard in any place whatever in the air by means of radio transmitters and receivers-on condition there is a receiver-everywhere on earth, at the same moment, instantaneously, demonstrates how perfectly each particle of air obediently conforms to the manifestation of 'the command of "Be!" and it is.' In respect of sacredness and in accordance with this mystery of compliance, the letters, which have an unstable existence in the air, may manifest many external effects and material qualities.
 Innumerable signs like these show that since letters, which are the beings of the air, and especially sacred and Qur'anic letters, and in particular the letters of the Divine cyphers at the beginning of some Suras, are well-ordered and infinitely sensitive, and as though listening to the instantaneous commands and acting accordingly, they surely make the particles of air submit to their material qualities and wondrous properties, which reflect the manifestation of 'the command of "Be!" and it is' and of Pre-Eternal Will.
 It is as a consequence of this mystery that sometimes the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition describes the works of Divine Power as though they proceed from the attributes of Will and Speech, meaning that apart from utter speed of creation, submission of things and subjugation of beings, they govern like power. That is to say, the letters proceeding from the creative command govern in the existence of beings like a physical force. And the creative command is manifested identically with Power and Will.
 Yes, the works of Will and the creative command appear to be identical with Power in beings of this sort whose physical existence is extremely hidden, like the air, which is semi-material and semi-immaterial; indeed, they are identical with Power. It is as though the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition decrees,
 Verily, when He intends a thing, His command is "Be!" and it is
  1. 346

in order to attract attention to beings which are 'an isthmus' between the material and the immaterial.

 It is thus in keeping with the sacred letters of the Divine cyphers like Ha. Mim. Ta. Sin., and Alif. Lam. Mim. that they should each be switches among the particles of the air for causing the wires of the hidden, subtle relations to vibrate and so be the means of the immaterial sacred wireless and telecommunications between the earth and Divine Throne; it is entirely reasonable that this should be their function.
 In addition to the duties of each and every particle of the air spread through all parts of the world conforming to the commands in connection with such things as wirelesses, radios, telephones, and telegraphs, and acting as receivers and conductors of subtle forces such as electricity, I conjectured, and observed even, a further duty in the blossom of my almond-tree. The state the tree acquired through the touch of the air in the blowing breeze-with its particles like receivers conforming to the same command at the same instant-and all the trees on the face of the earth like an orderly army, afforded me a conviction as certain as two plus two equals four.
 That is to say, the air is a swift and agile servant on the face of the earth, tending the guests of the Most Merciful and Compassionate One. Like radio and telephone receivers and soldiers under orders, all its particles deliver the sacred commands of that Most Merciful One to the plants and animals. At 'the command of "Be!" and it is', they carry out numerous orderly duties, like being fans for those creatures, aiding their respiration; that is, after performing the duty of purifying their blood, the water of life, and kindling their bodily heat, the fire of life, they emerge from them and are the means of forming words in their mouths.
 It is as a consequence of this quality of the air that when letters, the beings of the air, acquire sacredness, that is, when they take up the position of being receivers-that is, they take up the position of receivers because they are letters of the Qur'an-and become like switches, and even more so when the letters at the start of some Suras become like the sensitive central switches of those hidden relations, just as their existences in the air possess this quality, so do their existences in the mind, and even as inscriptions, have a share in it. That is to say, like physical medicines, healing cures and other aims may be achieved through reading and writing those letters.
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
  1. 347
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Say: "If the ocean were ink [wherewith to write out] the words of my Sustainer, sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Sustainer, even if we added another ocean like it, for its aid.1
 [This mighty verse is a vast, elevated, broad ocean. One would have to write a large volume in order to describe all its jewels. So postponing those precious jewels to another time, for now I shall explain a few rays of a subtle point in order to recall those truths. Appearing faintly to me, they struck my attention a few days ago during the tesbihat, recited following the five daily prayers, which is an important time for me. I did not write them down at that time and they gradually grew fainter. So in order to hunt down a manifestation of those points before they are lost altogether, I shall say a few words as though encircling them.]
 F i r s t W o r d : In respect of being a Divine attribute like Knowledge and Power, pre-eternal Speech is also infinite. Certainly, if the seas were ink for something infinite, they would never be able to complete them.
 S e c o n d W o r d : The clearest and most powerful thing that makes understood someone's existence, is his speech. To hear someone's speech proves his existence as clearly as a thousand proofs, indeed, as clearly as seeing him. Thus through its allusive meaning, this verse says:
 "If the seas were ink to the extent of Divine Speech, which demonstrates the All-Glorious Sustainer's existence, and the trees were pens, and they were to write His Speech, they would never come to the end of them. That is to say, just as any speech points to the existence of the one who spoke it to its own extent at the degree of witnessing, so too the extent that the above speech points to and tells of the One Who spoke it-the Single and Eternally Besought One-is beyond measure, so that if all the seas were ink they would still be insufficient for writing it."
 T h i r d W o r d : In accordance with the wisdom of establishing, verifying, and convincing of a truth, in teaching the truths of belief to all classes of men, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition apparently repeats the same truth. This verse is in effect an answer to the entirely unjustifiable attacks of the Jewish scholars, who were the learned People of the Book of that time, on the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and
 1. Qur'an, 18:109.
  1. 348

peace) concerning this, in the face of his being unlettered and not learned. It is as follows:

 The verse says: "The repetition in different and miraculous ways for numerous instances of wisdom, like verification and persuasion, of a truth containing numerous benefits and results, and, in order to establish them in the hearts of the mass of people in particular, the repetition of matters like the pillars of belief comprising thousands of truths each of which has the value of thousands, does not arise from restricted speech or intellectual deficiency or lack of capital. Indeed, the Qur'an is taken from the endless, infinite pre-eternal treasury of Divine Speech, and being turned to the Manifest World on account of the World of the Unseen, speaks with man and the jinn, spirits, and the angels, resounding in the ears of every individual. If the seas were ink, sentient beings scribes, plants pens, and particles the pens' nibs for counting the words of pre-eternal Speech, the source of the Qur'an, they would still never come to the end of them. For they are finite, while Divine Speech is infinite."
 F o u r t h W o r d : It is clear that the issuing of speech from something unexpected increases the speech's importance, making itself heeded. Especially the speech-like voices of large bodies like the clouds and the atmosphere, they make everyone listen to them. The sounds of a gramophone the size of a mountain would attract attention even more. And the heavenly voice of the Qur'an, which takes the levels of the heavens as gramophone records, pours forth to make the head of the globe of the earth listen to it. Also through the power of the radio, the molecules of air are like the receivers and transmitters of its letters. Alluding to the fact that the air molecules each become like mirrors, tongues, needle points, and ears to the All-Wise Qur'an's letters, and indicating how important, valuable, significant, and living are those letters, the allusive meaning of the verse says: "The Qur'an, which is Divine Speech, is so living and valuable that if all the seas were to become ink, and the angels scribes, and minute particles points, and plants and hairs pens to the number of the ears that listen to it and hear it, and to the number of the sacred words that enter those ears, they could still never come to the end of them."
 No, they could never come to the end of them, because if Almighty God multiplies man's weak and lifeless speech millions of times in the air, for sure each word of the Peerless Sovereign of the Heavens and Earth's speech, which looks to the earth and the heavens and addresses all conscious beings in the earth and heavens, will comprise words to the numbers of particles of air.
  1. 349
 F i f t h W o r d : This consists of Two Letters.
 The First Letter: Just as the Divine attribute of Speech has words, so also does Power have embodied words and Knowledge too has wise words of Divine Determining; these consist of all beings. Living beings, and small creatures in particular, are each dominical words which point to the Pre-Eternal Speaker in a way more powerful than speech. And if the seas were ink they could never come to the end of them. That is, the verse looks to this meaning too in allusive fashion.
 The Second Letter: All the inspiration received by angels and men, and even by animals, are a sort of Divine Speech. The words of this speech are certainly infinite. It means that the verse is telling us how numerous and infinite are the inspirations and words of Divine command which the innumerable cohorts of Absolute Sovereignty continually receive.
 The knowledge is with God alone. * None knows the Unseen save God.
 * * *
  1. 350
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 And We sent down iron, in which is [material for] mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind.1
  [A brief reply to a question about the above verse, which has gained great importance, and with which a person of standing who had knowledge of modern science silenced a number of hojas.]
 Q u e s t i o n : It is normally said that "Iron is mined from the earth," so why is it said in this verse "We sent down" or "revealed" rather than "We excavated or extracted;" this appears to be inappropriate? 
 T h e A n s w e r : Through the phrase "We sent down", the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition recalls the vast and important bounty in iron. For it does not consider iron only for itself so that it should say "extracted," it rather recalls the tremendous Divine bounty in iron and how needy mankind is for it. Its aspect of being a bounty does not come upwards from below, but down from the treasury of mercy. The treasury of mercy is certainly elevated, above, and at a high level, so the bounty descends from above; and needy mankind's level is surely below. The bestowal of bounty is superior to need, so the correct way to express the fact that bounty comes from the treasury of mercy to assist mankind's need is "We sent down;" it is not "We extracted."
 Also, since the gradual extraction of iron is at man's hand, the word "extract" does not alert a heedless person to its aspects of bounty. If what is meant is iron's material substance, it is extracted in respect to its physical situation. But iron's quality of being a "bounty," which is the intended meaning here, is immaterial. This meaning looks not to physical situation, but to immaterial degree or level. Bounties proceeding from the treasury of mercy, which is a manifestation of the infinitely elevated degree of the Most Merciful, are certainly sent down from the highest level to the lowest. Thus, the correct expression is "We sent down:" it recalls to mankind that iron is one of the greatest of Divine bounties.
 Yes, the source of all mankind's industries, and of its advancement and progress, and the means of its power and strength, is iron. So in order to call to mind this tremendous bounty and bestowal of favour, in lofty style the Qur'an states:
 1. Qur'an, 57:25.
  1. 351
 And We sent down iron, in which is [material for] mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind.
 In the same way that it declares about David's important miracle:
 And We made the iron soft for him.2
 That is to say, it points out the softening of iron, a great miracle and great bounty for a great prophet.
 Secondly: "Above" and "below" are relative. They are above and below in relation to the earth's centre. In fact, something which is below in relation to us is above from the point of view of the American continent. This means the situation of substances coming from the earth's centre to its surface changes according to the position of people on the surface.
 With the tongue of miraculousness, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition states that iron contains so many benefits and such broad uses that it is not some common substance to be extracted from the store of the globe, and that it is not some natural substance to be used to meet any chance need. Rather, in order to express iron's general uses it states that it is a bounty stored up by the Creator of the Universe in the treasury of mercy and huge workshop of the universe which He sent down through His majestic title of Sustainer of the Heavens and Earth to meet the needs of the earth's inhabitants. It is as if, like rain, heat, and light, which descend from the skies, it contains such all-embracing benefits that it was sent from the workshop of the universe, not from the narrow store of the earth. It was sent having been prepared in the great treasury of mercy in the palace of the universe, and situated in the store of the globe, from which it is extracted little by little over the centuries in proportion to need.
 The Qur'an of Mighty Stature does not want to express the iron which is extracted bit by bit from this small store only as being "utilized," but as being sent down together with the globe of the earth from the Supreme Treasury, as a tremendous bounty. That is to say, the thing most necessary for the house of the earth is iron, for when the All-Glorious Creator separated the earth from the sun and sent it down for mankind, He sent down iron together with it, and met most of mankind's needs with it. The All-Wise Qur'an decrees in miraculous fashion: "Use this iron in your works and try to excavate it and take advantage of it."
 The verse describes two bounties; both the repulsion of enemies, and the attraction of benefits. Iron was put to important human uses before the revelation of the Qur'an, but with the phrase,
 2. Qur'an, 34:10.
  1. 352

in which is [material for] mighty war3

 it points out that in the future, being used for travelling through the sea, air, and land, iron would subjugate the globe in wondrous and astonishing fashion, and demonstrate a wondrous death-tainted strength. Thus of its various sorts of miraculousness, it displays a flash of miraculousness predicting the future. 
 * * *
 While discussing the above point, the subject of Solomon's Hoopoe came up. A persistent questioner from among our brothers4 asked: "What is the reason for the Hoopoe describing Almighty God with a relatively insignificant attribute in the sentence, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth,5 while there are more significant Divine attributes?
 T h e A n s w e r : One aspect of eloquence is to make understood the occupation or craft with which the speaker is mostly employed. Like the nomad diviners who through their intuition wondrously discovered the places where water was to be found in the Arabian Peninsula, as a diviner from among birds and animals, Solomon's Hoopoe was a blessed bird employed in various duties who also found water for Solomon (Upon whom be peace), so it could be used. It is stating through the measure of its own art that Almighty God proves His fitness to be worshipped and prostrated before by making known the things hidden in the heavens and earth.
 Yes, the Hoopoe saw it very well, for the natural inclination of the incalculable numbers of seeds and minerals under the earth is not to emerge upwards from below. Because since such beings lack life and will, they cannot go upwards of their own accord; on their own, they can only tumble downwards. Particularly a body concealed under the heaviness of the earth, it certainly could not shake that heavy load off its shoulders on its own and emerge upwards. It means that it does so through a wondrous power.
 The Hoopoe understood through his divining this most hidden and important of the proofs of Divine fitness to be worshipped, so that the All-Wise Qur'an imparted a miraculousness to its statement concerning it.
 * * *
 3. Qur'an, 57:25
 4. This refers to Re'fet, who is diligent in asking questions, but lazy when it comes to writing!
 5. Qur'an, 27:25.
  1. 353
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 And He sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs: He makes you in the wombs of your mothers, in stages, one after the other.1
 This verse comprises the same point we explained in the discussion of the verse, And We sent down iron;2 it both corroborates it, and is corroborated by it.
 By saying in Sura al-Zumar, And He sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs, and not saying: And He created for you eight head of cattle in pairs, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition is stating that: "Eight sorts of blessed animals have been sent down to you from the treasury of mercy, like the bounties of Paradise." Yes, those blessed animals are bounty for mankind in all their parts, for their wool or hair becomes the mobile homes and clothes of nomads, good food is made from their flesh, delicious sustenance is had from their milk, shoes and so on are made from their hides, cultivated land is nourished by their manure and men make fuel from it. It is as though those blessed animals are pure bounty and embodied mercy.
 It is because of this that like rain is called "mercy" [rahma], these blessed beasts are called "bounty" [an'am]. As though just as embodied mercy becomes rain, so too embodied bounty takes on the form of goats, sheep, cattle, water-buffalo, and camels. For sure their physical bodies are created on the earth, but since the attribute of being bounties and the meaning of mercy have totally predominated over their physical beings, in accordance with the phrase And He sent down, the All-Compassionate Creator sent down these blessed animals directly from the exalted degree of His mercy and His elevated, immaterial Paradise, as gifts from the treasury of mercy.
 Sometimes in material worth virtually nothing is art of high worth. Then it is not in respect of the material's value, but from the point of view of its art that value is given it, like the tiny material being of a fly and the great dominical art within it. Sometimes in valuable material worth five lira is art worth nothing; then it is the material that is dominant.
 In exactly the same way, sometimes in some physical material the meaning of bounty and mercy is found to such a degree that it is a hundred times more important than the material. The physical matter quite simply is hidden, and its aspect of being a bounty is predominant. Thus,
 1. Qur'an, 39:6.
 2. Qur'an, 57:25.
  1. 354

just as the vast benefits of iron and the many products it yields conceal its material aspect, so too bounty being present in every member of the blessed animals mentioned above has transformed their physical matter into bounty. It is because of this that their immaterial attributes have been considered, disregarding their physical beings, and expressed with the phrases, And He sent down, and, And We sent down.

 In addition to these two phrases stating the above-mentioned point in regard to reality, they miraculously express an important meaning in respect of eloquence. It is as follows:
 Together with its extremely tough nature, and its being hidden, frequently deep underground, iron is found everywhere, bestowed with the quality of being easily softened. Everyone can therefore obtain it easily everywhere for everything. In order to express this, it states through the phrase And We sent down iron, that it is as though iron tools are sent down from a workbench above like natural, heavenly bounties, and placed in man's hand they are obtained so easily.
 Furthermore, although some animal species from the mosquito to snakes, scorpions, wolves, and lions are harmful to human beings, large beasts like the water-buffalo, ox, and camel, who are important among animals, are extremely docile and submissive. So much so they may be led by even a child. In order to express the meaning of their submissiveness, the verse 
 And He sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs
 states that being neither wild nor dangerous, these blessed beasts do not resemble worldly animals. They are rather beneficial and harmless like paradisaical animals. They have been sent down from above, that is, from the treasury of mercy.
 It is possible that some Qur'anic commentators saying that these animals have been sent down from Paradise arises from this meaning. It should not be said to be lengthy if a page is written on a single letter of the All-Wise Qur'an,3 for it is God's Word. It has therefore not been wasteful to write two or three pages on the expression And We sent down. Sometimes one letter of the Qur'an is the key to a treasury.
 * * *
 3. What some Qur'anic commentators intended by saying "Their origins were the heavens" was this: the continued existence of the animals known as "an'am" is through sustenance, and their sustenance is fodder. The fodder's sustenance is rain. Rain is the water of life and mercy; so sustenance also comes from the heavens. The verse, And in the heavens is our sustenance (51:22) alludes to this. Since those animals' continually renewed existences lie in the rain which falls from the skies, the expression And He sent down is apt, for it expresses the meaning of having been sent down from the sky.
  1. 355
 Pieces Written in Eskishehir Prison 
 as a True Solace for the Risale-i Nur Students
 My Dear Brothers!
 I was exceedingly unhappy for you; I was crushed by grief. But it was imparted to me that Divine Determining and your fate have given you this prison's water to drink and bread to eat, all together. I saw that as a mark of Divine mercy and manifestation of dominical favour, your eating this bread together and drinking this water was the easiest, lightest, best, and most meritorious of ways; that this prison was a most beneficial place of instruction for the Risale-i Nur students, and a most effulgent place of ordeal; that it was a most exacting place of examination teaching just how essential it is to act prudently in the face of one's enemies. I saw it in the form of a most luminous place of study and tekke for learning and benefiting from the elevated qualities and fine characteristics of our friends here, which are all different, and to establish and renew the brotherhood between them. I did not complain about this situation therefore, but offered thanks with all my spirit. Yes, our way is thanks. And it is to see an aspect of mercy, an aspect of bounty, in everything.
 From your brother who is grieved at the pains of all of you,
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
 A Rule
 Risale-i Nur students should not seek light outside the circle of the Risale-i Nur, and they cannot seek it. If they do so, they will find a lamp in place of the immaterial sun giving light through the window of the Risale-i Nur, and perhaps lose the sun.
 Also, the pure and powerful 'way of friendship and brotherhood' within the circle of the Risale-i Nur, which gains numerous spirits for each individual and through the mystery of the legacy of Prophethood shows the Companions' way of brotherhood, leaves no need for seeking a spiritual guide or father outside that sphere, in a way that is harmful to them in three respects; it provides many 'agabeys' that is, elder brothers, in place of a single father. The joint compassion of elder brothers makes that of a father as nothing.
 Someone who has a shaykh before entering the Risale-i Nur circle
  1. 356

may keep his shaykh or guide after entering it. But one who does not have a shaykh beforehand, may only seek a guide within the circle. Moreover, the knowledge of reality taught within the circle of the Risale-i Nur, which gives the effulgence of the legacy of Prophethood, 'the greater sainthood,' leaves no need for the Sufi orders outside that circle. Unless of course they be self-indulgent people who misunderstand the way of Sufism, are addicted to pleasant dreams and imaginings, lights and spiritual pleasures, desire worldly, fanciful pleasures, which are different to the virtues of the Hereafter, and want a rank where people have recourse to them...

 This world is the place of work and service; recompense is commensurate with hardship and difficulty; it is not the place of reward. It is because of this that the people of reality attach no importance to the pleasures and lights of illuminations and wonder-working. Indeed, they sometimes flee them and want to conceal them.
 Furthermore, the Risale-i Nur's circle is very broad, and its students, very numerous. It does not seek those who go out from it. It gives them no importance and perhaps will not again admit them. Everyone has one heart, and a single heart cannot be both within the circle and outside it.
 Also, those desirous for guidance outside should not busy themselves with the Risale-i Nur students. For it is possible that they will receive harm in three respects. Just as those within the bounds of fear of God are not in need of guidance, outside it there are abundant people who do not perform the five daily prayers. To leave aside the latter and busy oneself with the former is not guidance. If such a person loves these students, let him firstly enter the circle and be not a father, but a brother, and if he is very virtuous, an 'elder brother'.
 It has also become apparent from this incident that being attached to the Risale-i Nur holds much importance and has a high price. And if he is sensible, one who gives this price and takes up a position of striving against irreligion in the name of the Islamic world, will not abandon this way which has the value of diamonds, and embrace other ways.
 S a i d 
 * * *
  1. 357
 A Short Piece Written in Eskishehir Prison
 My Brothers!
 On numerous occasions I have defended the Risale-i Nur students in the manner of which they are worthy. God willing, I shall shout it out in court. And I shall make the world hear both of the Risale-i Nur, and of its students' value. Only, I remind you of the following: the condition of my retaining this mention of your value in my defence is your not feeling offended at the Risale-i Nur due to your painful experiences in this matter, nor at your Master, nor to feel disgust at your brothers on the pretext of the difficulties you suffer, nor to find fault with or accuse one another. You will recall that in the treatise on Divine Determining we have proved that there are two aspects to the wrongs that are visited on us: one is the man's aspect, the other, Divine Determining's. In the same event, man does wrong, but Divine Determining is fair and acts in justice. In this matter of ours, we should think more of the justice of Divine Determining and mystery of Divine wisdom than man's tyranny and wrongdoing.
 Yes, Divine Determining summoned the Risale-i Nur students to this gathering. And the wisdom in the unfolding of their striving and struggle drove them to this truly very distressing 'School of Joseph.' Man's tyranny and pretexts were the means. So beware, do not say to one another: "If I had not done such-and-such I would not have been arrested."
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
 Part of My Defence Speech,
 which was included here and not later removed
 I seek an important right from the Chief and Members of the Court, as follows:
 In this matter it is not only my person which is under scrutiny so that with your exonerating me and becoming aware of the reality of the matter, the matter would be solved. For the collective personality of the pious and people of learning has been incriminated in this matter in the eyes of the nation, and a lack of confidence has been engendered in the government towards the pious and religious scholars, and it is necessary to know how they will avoid dangerous and harmful attempts against them. I therefore request that this last part of my defence to be printed in the new letters and distributed. Then the pious and the scholars will not be deceived by the intrigues, or embark on any dangerous and damaging
  1. 358

enterprises. Their collective personality will be saved from being the object of suspicion in the eyes of the nation. The government too will have confidence in the scholars and an end will be put to this misunderstanding. Incidents and misunderstandings like this, which are extremely harmful for the government and the nation and the country, will not then be repeated.

 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
 My Brothers!
 If everyone, and even I, withdraw from defending and preserving the Risale-i Nur, five of our brothers should not withdraw. These are Hüseyin Usta, Halil Ibrahim, Re'fet Bey, Husrev, and Hakki Efendi. The involuntary lack of caution of the first three... because of the personal grudges of the open enemies of the latter two-the intention was to cause excessive harm to the Risale-i Nur. If it had not resulted in a great bounty like the Risale-i Nur being spread and made known to a significant degree, these brothers would have been greatly upset at having caused the unhappiness of so many innocent Risale-i Nur students. Thus, more than everyone, these five brothers must be cautious and united.
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
 My Brothers!
 It was imparted to my heart that like the Mathnawi was the mirror to one of seven truths appearing from the Sun of the Qur'an, thus acquiring a sacred illustriousness and becoming the undying guide of numerous 'people of the heart' besides the Mevlevis, so too represented together in mirror of the Risale-i Nur are the seven colours of the Qur'anic sun's light and its various, multicoloured effulgences. God willing, it will be an eternal guide and teacher for 'the people of reality,' illustrious and sacred in seven respects, as much as seven Mathnawi's.
 * * *
  1. 359
 My Brothers!
 Look at the protection of the All-Glorious Preserver! Although as a coincidence with the number of treatises of the Risale-i Nur, one hundred and twenty were questioned together with their confidential documents, the fact despite the intrigues of the foreigners and the stratagems of the secret societies no matter could be found showing the connection of any Risale-i Nur student with any of the many existent associations was a most clear and brilliant instance of dominical protection, Divine preservation, and a favour of the Most Merciful corroborating the wondrous predictions concerning the Risale-i Nur of Imam Ali (May God be pleased with him) and the Ghawth al-A'zam (May God be pleased with him). The hands of forty-two of our innocent, wronged brothers raised in supplication to the Divine Court halted a missile directed at them, turned it back in effect exploding it over the heads of those who had fired it. Our losses only amount to a few unimportant minor cuts and bruises which will gain us reward. It is a marvel to be saved with such minor injury from a gun that was being charged for the past year. One should respond to such a great bounty with thanks and joy. After this our lives will not be our own, for according to the plans of the spreaders of corruption, we were to be completely wiped out. That means after this we should pledge our lives not to ourselves, but to truth and reality. We should try to always see the trace, face, and essence of mercy in things, which will cause us not to complain, but to offer thanks.
 S a i d N u r s i 
 * * *
 I request of my brothers that they are not offended at one another due to discomfort, or distress of the spirit, or fastidiousness, or being deceived by Satan's wiles, or at the offensive language uttered by some of them. They should not say that their honour has been insulted. I take on myself any bad words that are uttered. They should not be offended. If I had a hundred honours, I would sacrifice all of them for love and cordiality among my brothers.
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
  1. 360
 My Brothers!
 I have understood certainly the last two or three days that unfortunately we suffered a blow from Divine mercy. I understood even that one of the many indications of a verse concerning the people of rebellion looks to us. It is this:
 But when they forgot the warning they had received.... on a sudden We called them to account.1
 That is, "When they forgot the instruction and advice with which we have warned them and did not act in accordance with it, We took hold of them and afflicted them with disaster."
 Yes, recently we were prompted to write a treatise on the meaning of sincerity. In truth, it was a most luminous and exalted rule of brotherhood, a sacred principle which allows ten men to withstand calamities and events which normally could only be withstood with the strength of tens of thousands. But unfortunately we, and foremost myself, did not act in accordance with the warning. In accordance with the allusive meaning of the verse, according to the science of jafr, the value of We called them to account is one thousand three hundred and fifty-two. We were arrested on the same date. Some of us suffered a slap dealt by Divine compassion. Others suffered, not such a blow, but were included in these tribulations in order to be a solace to our brothers who did suffer it, and as a means of earning reward and profit.
 For three months I was barred from mixing with others, but for the past three days I have been able to learn my brothers' states of mind. An unimaginable incident had occurred opposed to the meaning of sincerity involving brothers whom I had supposed to be the most sincere. I understood from this that an allusive meaning of the verse, But when they forgot the warning they had received.... on a sudden We called them to account looked to us from afar. For the people of misguidance, for whom the verse was revealed, it is punishment, but for us it is a blow from Divine compassion in order to train our souls, as atonement for sins, and so that we may increase our spiritual degrees. Evidence that we suffered this blow because we did not completely appreciate the value of the Divine bounty we had received is that we were not contented with our sacred service of the Qur'an through the Risale-i Nur, a most sacred striving in God's way which receives the effulgence of 'greater sainthood' through the mystery of the legacy of Prophethood and is a means to attaining the essence of the way of the Companions. Through my severe
 1. Qur'an, 6:44; 7:165.
  1. 361

warnings on several occasions, the wish to join a Sufi order was forestalled, the advantages of which are very few for us at the moment and could possibly have caused us much harm in this situation. Otherwise, both our unity would have been destroyed, and it would have caused both differences in ideas which would have reduced the value of four alifs-which through solidarity is one thousand one hunded and eleven-to four, and mutual antipathy, which would have reduced our strength to nothing.

 The author of the Gulistan, Shaykh Sa'di-i Shirazi, relates: "I saw one of 'the people of the heart' in a tekke while occupied with his spiritual journeying. Several days later I saw him among students in the medrese. I asked him why he had left the effulgent tekke and come to the religious school. He replied that there everyone could save themselves-if they were successful, whereas here in the religious school these persons of high aspiration were trying to save many others besides themselves. Nobility and high endeavour were theirs; virtue and exertion were theirs; that was why he went there.
 Shaykh Sa'di wrote a summary of this in his Gulistan.
 So if the small matter of students parsing verbs is superior to the recitations in the tekkes, since the Risale-i Nur teaches in the clearest and most certain manner the sacred truths of belief stated in the confession of faith: "I believe in God, and His angels, and His Books, and His prophets, and in the Last Day" and silences the most obdurate atheists and obstinate philosophers, to abandon it, or cause its activities to come to a standstill, or not to be content with it, and desiring the Sufi way to enter the closed Sufi tekkes without asking permission of the Risale-i Nur, is entirely wrong and shows how much we deserve this blow of Divine compassion.
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
 [Two short stories]
 T h e F i r s t : Fifteen years ago when a prisoner-of-war in the north of Russia I was being held together with ninety other officers in a large factory. Numerous arguments and disturbances arose due to the discomfort and oppressive conditions. I used to pacify them, since they all had great respect for me. I appointed four or five officers to keep the peace, telling them: "Whenever you hear an uproar, go there and help whichever
  1. 362

side is in the wrong." It is a fact that with this precaution a stop was put to the noise. They asked me why I helped those who were in the wrong. In reply I told them:

 "Those who are in the wrong are unfair. They do not give up a single benefit for the sake of public peace forty times greater. Whereas someone who is in the right is fair. He sacrifices and waives his own right, worth little, for the advantage of his friend, which is part of the public peace and worth much. The disturbance ceases and peace is restored. The ninety people in this ward can be comfortable. If the person in the right is helped, the noise would increase even more. In communal life of this sort, the general benefit takes precedence."
 And so, my brothers! In this communal life of ours, do not say: "I am fed up with my brother, for he's been unfair to me." It is a great error. If such a friend of yours has caused you a little harm, your being angry at him causes us harm of high cost. It is possible it would even cause excessive harm to the Risale-i Nur. But, praise be to God, with our friends being prevented from repeatedly going to be questioned, no harm came to our powerful and rightful defences. Otherwise like getting something as tiny a fly's wing in one's eye or a spark falling into gunpowder, brothers who are vexed with one another can cause a great deal of harm through a little pique.
 S e c o n d S t o r y : There was once an elderly women who had eight sons. She gave each of them a loaf of bread from the loaves she had, but none remained for herself. So each of them gave her half his loaf. She then had four loaves, while theirs was reduced to half a loaf.
 My brothers! I feel in myself half the pains of the share in this calamity of each of the forty of you. I take no notice of my own hardships. One day I felt excessively afflicted and studied my previous position wondering if I was paying the penalty of some error I had committed. I saw that I had no part at all in the fomenting and incitement of this calamity; on the contrary I had employed every possible means to avoid it. That means it is a Divine decree. It has been planned against us by intriguers over the past year, and made inevitable. It was not possible to avoid it. It was inevitable that we should be embroiled in it. A hundred thousand thanks to Almighty God that He reduced the calamity from a hundred to one.
 As a consequence of this fact therefore, do not blame me saying "We are suffering this disaster because of you!" Forgive me rather, and pray for me. And do not criticize each other, saying: "If you had not done such-and-such, this would not have happened." For example, with one of our brothers mentioning two or three signatures, the plan the mischief-makers
  1. 363

were hatching in order embroil numerous people in a calamity, was restricted and many were saved from it. It was the cause not of harm, but of great advantage. It resulted in many innocent people being saved from this disaster.

 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
 [This piece is very valuable. Everyone may benefit from it as far as the Second Point.]
 In connection with certain unpleasant situadions which come about in Eskişehir Prison, not through bad morality but because of the distress, this is aboute one point of a well-known verse which has remained obscure, and a point concerning good behaviour.
 Out of His perfect munificence, compassion, and justice, Almighty God has included in good works an immediate reward and in bad actions an immediate punishment. He has included in good works spiritual pleasures that recall the rewards of the Hereafter, while in bad works are spiritual penalties which recall the torments of Hell. 
 For example, love between believers is a praiseworthy action for the people of faith. Included in that good work is a spiritual pleasure, a gratification, an ease of mind that recall the physical rewards of the Hereafter. Anyone who refers to his heart will feel this pleasure.
 And for example, enmity and hostility between believers are an evil which cause noble spirits to feel torment of the conscience enough to overwhelm the heart and spirit. I myself have experienced it perhaps more than a hundred times: when I have felt enmity towards a believing brother I have suffered such torment that it has left me in no doubt that it was the immediate punishment for my evil deed.
 And for example, to be respectful towards those worthy of respect, and compassionate to those worthy of compassion, and to assist them, are good works, good deeds. There is a pleasure and gratification in these good works so great they make felt the rewards of the Hereafter. And they increase the respect and compassion to the extent they make the person ready to sacrifice his very life. The pleasure and reward a mother receives through the compassion she feels for her child may be so great she will sacrifice her life due to it. The hen who attacks a lion in order to
  1. 364

save her chick is an example of this truth in the animal kingdom. This means that there is an immediate reward in compassion and respect. Magnanimous people of high aspiration feel this, and for that reason assume that heroic attitude.

 And for example, in greed and wastefulness is such a punishment that, afflicting his heart and spirit, it makes man complaining and anxious, and bewilders him. And in jealousy and envy is such an immediate punishment that it scorches the one who feels them. While in contentment and reliance on God is an immediate, pleasurable reward that is such that it dispels all the pains and tribulations of poverty and want.
 And for example, in pride and conceit is a heavy burden, for the proud man wants respect from everyone. And since he is despised because he wants it, he suffers constant torment. Yes, respect is given, it may not be sought. 
 And for example, in humility and the giving up of egotism is a pleasurable reward by which a person is saved from the heavy burden of trying to make himself liked.
 And for example, in pessimism and always interpreting things unfavourably is an immediate punishment in this world. In accordance with the rule, "Whoever strikes is struck," those who think unfavourably of others are also thought of unfavourably. The actions of those who misinterpret the actions of their believing brothers are also misinterpreted, and they suffer the punishment for it.
 And so on, all good and bad deeds should be measured according to this yardstick. I beseech Divine mercy that those who witness the Qur'anic miraculousness manifested at this time in the Risale-i Nur, experience these spiritual pleasures; they will not suffer from bad morals, God willing.
 * * *
  1. 365
 [The Second of Twenty-Two Points]
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 I created not jinn and mankind except that they might worship me. * No sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed me. * For God is He Who gives [all] sustenance-Lord of Power-Steadfast [for ever].1
 For a long time these verses worried my mind, since according to many Qur'anic commentaries their apparent meaning did not reflect the Qur'an's elevated miraculousness. I shall now explain briefly three aspects of their extremely beautiful and exalted meanings, which proceed from the effulgence of the Qur'an.
 T h e F i r s t : Sometimes Almighty God attributes to Himself certain states that could pertain to His Prophet, so as to honour and ennoble him. Here also, the verses, "I created you for worship; not to give Me sustenance and feed me," have this meaning: "My Prophet does not want a wage, recompense, or reward, or to be fed in return for his duty of Prophethood and conveying to you the duties of worship;" they refer to the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) being given food and sustenance. Otherwise it would be making known something self-evident and clear, and would be inappropriate to the Qur'an's miraculous eloquence.
 T h e S e c o n d A s p e c t : Man is excessively preoccupied with his sustenance. So in order that he should not be deluded into making the obtaining of it a pretext for neglecting worship, nor make it an excuse, the verse says: "You were created for worship. The result of your creation is worship. Winning sustenance is worship of a sort, from the point of view of its being a Divine command. I have undertaken to provide your sustenance and that of your families and animals, my creatures; it pertains to me; you were not created to procure food and sustenance. For I am the Provider. I provide the sustenance of my servants, your dependents. So do not make it an excuse and give up worship!"
 If its meaning is not this, it becomes a statement of the obvious, for to provide Almighty God with food and sustenance is self-evidently impossible and obvious. It is an established rule of rhetoric that if the meaning of a sentence is clear and obvious, it is not that meaning which is intended, but a meaning necessitated by it and dependent on it. For
 1. Qur'an, 51:56-8.
  1. 366

example, if you say to someone: "You are a hafiz," it is stating the obvious. The intended meaning is this: "I know that you are a hafiz." You are informing him because he did not know that you knew.

 Thus, as a consequence of this rule, the meaning of the verse, in which the prohibition of giving food to Almighty God is a metaphor, is this: "You were not created in order to produce food for My creatures, which are Mine and the providing of whose sustenance I have undertaken. Your fundamental duty is worship. But to strive to procure sustenance in accordance with My commands is also a sort of worship."
 T h e T h i r d A s p e c t : Since in Sura al-Ikhlas the apparent meaning of 
 He begets not, nor is He begotten2 
 is self-evident and obvious, a meaning is intended which is necessitated by that meaning. That is to say, Almighty God states extremely clearly and self-evidently He begets not, nor is He begotten meaning: "Those with a father and mother cannot be gods," and, "pre-eternal and post-eternal," with the intention of denying the divinity of Jesus (Upon whom be peace), and Uzayr, and the angels, and stars, and other false gods. And in exactly the same way, in our example too, the verse, "The All-Glorious Provider, your object of worship, does not require sustenance for Himself, you were not created to provide Him with food," which has the meaning of: "Things with the ability to receive sustenance and food cannot be gods and objects of worship," meaning: "Beings which are in need of sustenance and being provided for are not worthy of worship."
 S a i d N u r s i 
 * * *
 2. Qur'an, 112:3.
  1. 367
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 Or while they slept for their afternoon rest.1
 This was written in connection with Re'fet being curious and asking about the word 'qâ'ilûn-slept for their afternoon rest-in the verse, Or while they slept for their afternoon rest and to prevent his diamond-like pen from becoming idle in prison due to the lethargy resulting from sleeping after the morning prayer like the others.
 Sleep is of three sorts:
 T h e F i r s t is 'Ghaylula'. This is from pre-dawn to forty minutes or so after the sun has risen, the time when prayer is lawful but reprehensible. Sleep at this time is contrary to the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH), since according to Hadiths, it leads to a decrease in one's livelihood and to be its being unfruitful. The time most appropriate for preparing to labour for one's sustenance is when it is cool. When this time has passed, a lethargy descends. It has been established through numerous experiences that just as this is detrimental to that day's labour and indirectly to one's livelihood, so also is it the cause of unfruitfulness.
 T h e S e c o n d is 'Faylula'. This is from the afternoon prayer till sunset. This sleep leads to a diminution of life, that is, it makes life that day shorter and makes it pass in a state of semi-sleep due to drowsiness, thus causing a physical deficiency to life. So too in an immaterial aspect, since most of the results of that day, material and immaterial, become apparent after the afternoon prayer, to pass that time in sleep as though prevents those results being seen and makes the day as though not lived.
 T h e T h i r d is 'Qaylula', which is in accordance with the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH).2 It is from mid-morning to just past noon. This sleep is part of the Practices since it allows a person to rise at night to pray. So also in the Arabian Peninsula to rest from work at noon when it is intensely hot is the custom of the people and of the area, so has further strengthened this Practice of the Prophet (PBUH). This sleep increases both life, and sustenance. For half an hour's qaylula sleep is the equivalent of two hours' sleep at night. That means it adds one and a half hours' to a person's life every day. It saves one and a half hours from the hand of sleep, the brother of death, and makes it live, adding it to the time of working for one's livelihood.
 S a I d N u r s i
 * * *
 1. Qur'an, 7:4.
 2. Ibn Maja, Siyam 22; al-Munawi, Fayzu'l-Qadir iv, 531; al-Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa 330; al-Albani, Sahih Jami'i's-Saghir No: 4307.
  1. 368
 "This is good as well"
 While reciting, "Endless blessings and endless peace be upon you, O Prophet of God!" in the tesbihat following the prayers, I saw from afar a subtle point which gradually unfolded. I was unable to grasp all of it, but shall recount one or two sentences by way of alluding to it.
 I saw that the world of the night is like a newly opened dwelling of the world. I entered that world during 'Isha, the prayer at nightfall. Since man is connected to all the world, through an extraordinary expansion of the imagination, I saw the mighty world that night as a dwelling. Living creatures and men became so tiny they were invisible. I observed with the imagination that the only thing that inhabited that dwelling, and made it familiar, and filled it with light, was the collective personality of Muhammad (PBUH). Like a person greets those present when he enters a house, I was overwhelmed with the desire to say: "Endless peace be upon you, O Messenger of God!"1 It was as though I was greeting him to the number of all men and jinn. That is to say, I offered greetings, meaning: I renew my allegiance to you, accept your mission, submit to the laws and commands you brought, and state through the greetings that they will be safe from our assaults, and I make all the parts of my world and all jinn and men, all conscious beings, speak, offering greetings in the name of all of them.
 As he illuminated my world through the Light and gift he brought, so he illuminates and fills with bounties the worlds of everyone in this world. In grateful response for the gift, I exclaimed: "Endless blessings be upon you!" That is, "We cannot respond to this goodness of yours, so we show our gratitude to you by beseeching that mercy be bestowed upon you from our Creator's treasury of mercy, to the number of the inhabitants of the heavens." I perceived this meaning in my imagination.
 In respect of his worship and on account of his being turned from creation to Creator, the person of Muhammad (PBUH) requires blessings which have the meaning of mercy. While in respect of his Prophethood and being the envoy sent from Creator to creation, he requires peace. He is worthy of peace to the number of jinn and men, and we offer a general
 1. The Divine mercy which came to Muhammad (PBUH) looks to the needs of all his Community through all eternity. For this reason, endless greetings are in place. If someone enters a vast house like the world, desolate and empty and dark through heedlessness, how frightened and dismayed he will be. Then suddenly the house is lit up and a familiar, friendly, lovable and beloved Lieutenant appears in the forefront. If he describes and makes known the house's Compassionate and Generous Owner through all its fittings and furnishings, you can understand what joy, familiarity, happiness, light, and ease it would give. You can appreciate the value and pleasure of the greetings for the Prophet (PBUH) from this.
  1. 369

renewal of our allegiance to their number. So too he is worthy of blessings from the treasury of mercy to the number of the inhabitants of the heavens and in the name of all of them. For it was through the Light he brought that the perfections of all things became apparent, and the value of all beings was made manifest, and the dominical duties of all creatures could be observed, and the Divine purposes in all creatures were made known. Therefore, if all things uttered verbally what they express through their tongues of disposition, it is certain that they would declare: "Blessings and peace be upon you, O Prophet of God!", and we say in the name of all of them: "Endless blessings and endless peace be upon you O Prophet of God, to the number of jinn and men, and of angels and stars!"

 It is enough that Allah grants him blessings,
 And assigns him peace and benedictions.
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
 My Dear Brother!
 You want an explanation of the Unity of Existence. In one of the Flashes of the Thirty-First Letter there is a very powerful and elucidating answer to Hadhrat Muhyiddin's ideas concerning this matter. For now we just say the following:
 Teaching this question of the Unity of Existence to people at the present time causes serious harm. Like when metaphors and similes pass from the hands of the learned to those of the common people and knowledge passes from scholars to the ignorant, they are thought to be literally true,1 so too when elevated truths like the Unity of Existence pass to the heedless and to the common people plunged into causes, they are thought to be Nature, and cause three significant instances of harm.
 T h e F i r s t : The way of the Unity of Existence is quite simply denying the universe on account of Almighty God. So when it is adopted by the heedless common people and enters their ideas which are tainted by materialist thought in particular, it takes the form of denying the Godhead on account of the universe and materiality.
 T h e S e c o n d : The way of the Unity of Existence rejects the dominicality of anything other than God so vehemently that it denies all
 1. Just like the two angels, called the Bull and the Fish in connection with certain metaphors, were supposed by the common people to be a vast bull and enormous fish.
  1. 370

other than God and removes duality. Since it does not recognize the independent existence of anything, let alone that of evil-commanding souls, with the predominance of the idea of Nature at this time and pride and egotism inflating the evil-commanding soul and causing the Hereafter and the Creator to be forgotten to a degree, to inculcate the Unity of Existence in people whose evil-commanding souls are small pharaohs and quite simply have the capacity to take their own selves as their objects of worship, so inflates the evil-commanding soul that-I seek refuge with God-it can no longer be contained.

 T h e T h i r d : While the All-Glorious One is free and exempt from, pure of and exalted above all change, alteration, division, and being comprehended in time or place, it gives rise to conceptions which are not fitting for His necessary existence, holiness, and being free of all defect, and leads to false teachings. Yes, if one who speaks of the Unity of Existence rises in the mind from the ground to the Pleiades, leaves the universe behind and fixes his gaze on the Sublime Throne, ecstatically reckoning the universe to be non-existent, through the strength of belief, he may see everything to be directly from the Single One of Unity. But for one who stands behind the universe and looks at it, and sees causes before him and looks from the ground, is the possibility of becoming submerged in causes and falling into the swamp of Nature. The one who rises in the mind to the Divine Throne may say like Jalaluddin Rumi: "Listen! The words you hear uttered by everyone, you may hear as uttered by Almighty God, like natural gramophones." But if you say to the one who cannot rise as high as Jalaluddin, nor see all beings from the ground to the Divine Throne in the form of mirrors: "Listen! You will hear the Divine speech from everything," just as he will in effect fall from the Throne to the ground, he will also be afflicted by false imaginings contrary to the truth!...
 Say: "God [sent it down]": then leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifling.2 * Glory be to the One Whose Essence is holy above anything similar to It and Whose attributes are free of anything resembling them, and Whose signs testify to His dominicality, may His glory be exalted, for there is no god but He.
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
 2. Qur'an, 6:91.
  1. 371
 The Answer to a Question
 I do not have the time to weigh up the ideas of Mustafa Sabri and those of Musa Bekûf. I shall only say this much, that the one was excessive, and the other, deficient. Mustafa Sabri was right relatively to Musa Bekuf, but it is not right to denigrate someone like Muhyiddin who was a miracle of the Islamic sciences.
 Yes, himself, Muhyiddin was rightly-guided and acceptable, but in all his works cannot be the guide and instructor. Since he very often proceeded in the realities without balance, he opposed the rules of the Sunnis and some of the things he said apparently express misguidance. However, he himself is free of misguidance. Sometimes, a word may appear to be unbelief, but the one who spoke it is not an unbeliever. Mustafa Sabri did not take these points into consideration; he was extreme concerning certain points of Sunni law, due to bigotry.
 As for Musa Bekûf, due to being excessively in favour of renewal and because of the concessions he made to modernity in respect of his ideas, he was very much in error. He corrupts some of the truths of Islam with his false interpretations. By holding someone rejected like Abu'l-A'la al-Ma'arrî to be superior to authoritative scholars, and favouring disproportionately matters of Muhyiddin opposing the Sunnis because they suited his own ideas, he went far to excess.
 Muhyiddin said: "Those who are not one of us and do not know our station should not read our books, for it may be damaging for them." Yes, at this time it is harmful to read Muhyiddin's books, especially the matters about the Unity of Existence.
 S a i d N u r s i 
 * * *
 1. Mustafa Sabri(1869-1954). A leading religious scholar and public figure in the last decades of the Ottoman Empire, he was publisher of the journal Beyanu'l-Hak, and Shaykhu'l-Islâm 1919-1920. He left Turkey in 1922, and remained in exile in Egypt till his death.
 2. Mûsa Jarullah Bigi(yef). A native of Turkestan and 'reformist' Islamic scholar and prominent figure. He was sent into exile by the Russians 1904 together with Abdurrashid Ibrahim, and was the author of many works.
  1. 372
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 I shall explain a matter that unfolded before the gaze of my imagination while watching from my prison window through the lens of prudence and foresight one glittering night of the festival, the laughter of mankind that would turn into tears. In the same way that the lives of those of previous ages who lie in the graveyard may be seen in the cinema, it was as though I had seen the moving corpses of those who would dwell in the graveyard in the near future. I wept for those merry-makers. All of a sudden a feeling of desolation and pity came over me. I turned to my intellect and asked of reality: "What is this imagining?" Reality replied, saying:
 "In fifty years time, out of these fifty who are laughing and enjoying themselves with such joy five will be bent and stooping seventy-year-olds, while forty-five will have rotted in the graveyard. Those beautiful features and joyful smiles will have been transformed into their opposites. According to the rule of "Everything that is coming is close," since it is to some degree true that things that are going to happen in the near future are seen to have already arrived, then surely what you see is not imagination.
 "Furthermore, since the heedless laughter of this world veils bitter facts that thus turn it into tears, and is temporary and subject to decline, then most certainly it is only thankful, innocent enjoyment within the bounds of the licit, which leads to awareness of God's presence and dispels heedlessness, and pleasures that will be permanent by reason of their reward that will cause joy to wretched man's eternity-worshipping heart and his spirit, which has an irresistible desire for immortality, and make them smile.
 It is because of this that there are among the narrations many that strongly encourage thanks and remembrance of God at festival times, in order to prevent heedlessness from prevailing and deviation into the illicit. Then at such times this may transform the bounties of joy and happiness into thanks and make the bounty continue and increase it. For thanks increases bounty and dispels heedlessness.
 S a i d N u r s i 
 * * *
  1. 373
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 This1 concerns one point of the verse,
 The [human] soul is certainly prone to evil,2
 and the Hadith the meaning of which is, "Your worst enemy is your soul."3
 One who loves himself-if his evil-commanding soul has not been purified-will love no one else. Even if he apparently loves someone, he does not do so sincerely, but only for the pleasure of it and the benefits he receives. He always tries to make himself liked. Also, he does not ascribe faults to himself; he defends and exonerates himself like a lawyer. He praises himself, exaggerating and even lying, showing himself to be free of fault, as though sanctifying himself, and according to his degree receives a slap from the verse, 
 Who takes as his god his desires.4
 His self-praise and efforts to make himself liked have the reverse effect, for he attracts contempt and is treated coldly. He also loses sincerity in his actions which look to the Hereafter and they become mixed with hypocrisy. He is defeated by the emotions and desires of the soul, which are blind to the consequences, do not think of results, and are obsessed with present pleasure; he serves a year's prison sentence because of one hour's pleasure demanded by his emotions which have lost their way. He pays ten years' penalty on account of one minute's pride or revenge. Quite simply like a silly child who sells the portion of the Qur'an he is learning to buy a single sweet, in order to flatter his emotions, gratify his senses, and satisfy his appetites, he makes his good deeds the means to egotistical pleasures like insignificant fragments of glass, and he loses out in profitable works. 
 O God! Preserve us from the evil of the soul and of Satan, and from the evil of jinn and men.
 * * *
 1. This piece is beneficial for everyone.
 2. Qur'an, 12:53.
 3. al-Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa i, 143; Ghazzali, Ihya Ulumi'd-Din iii, 4.
 4. Qur'an, 25:43; 45:23.
  1. 374
 A Question
 How can incarceration in Hell for an infinite duration in return for unbelief for a short duration be justice?
 T h e A n s w e r : Reckoning a year to be three hundred and sixty-five days, the law of justice requires for a one-minute murder seven million eight hundred and eighty-four thousand minutes imprisonment. So, since one minute's unbelief is like a thousand murders, according to the law of human justice, someone who lives a life of twenty years in unbelief and dies in that state deserves imprisonment for fifty-seven billion, two hundred and one thousand two hundred million years. It may be understood from this how conformable with Divine justice is the verse, 
 They will dwell therein for ever.1
 The reason for the connection between these two numbers, so far from one another, is this: since murder and unbelief are destruction and aggression, they have an effect on others. A murder which takes one minute negates on average at least fifteen years of the victim's life, so the murderer is imprisoned in their place. While since one minute of unbelief denies a thousand and one Divine Names and denigrates their inscriptions, violates the rights of the universe and denies its perfections, and gives the lie to innumerable evidences of Divine Unity and rejects their testimony, the unbeliever is cast down to the lowest of the low for more than a thousand years, and "dwells" in imprisonment.
 S a i d N u r s i 
 * * *
 1. Qur'an, 33:65, etc
  1. 375
 A Meaningful and Subtle 'Coincidence'
 The 'coincidence' of Article 163,1 under which the Risale-i Nur students were charged and sentenced, and the number of deputies, one hundred and sixty-three out of two hundred, who allotted one hundred and fifty thousand liras for the medrese2 of the Risale-i Nur's author in effect says this: the appreciative signatures of one hundred and sixty-three deputies of the government of the Republic quashes the ruling of Article 163 of the Criminal Code concerning him.
 Another subtle and meaningful 'coincidence' is this: the one hundred and twenty-eight parts of the Risale-i Nur are formed into one hundred and fifteen booklets. The number of days from when the Risale-i Nur students and its author were first arrested on 27th April, 1935 to the date on which the court passed judgement on 19th August, 1935 was one hundred and fifteen coinciding with the number of books of the Risale-i Nur. In addition the one hundred and fifteen people found guilty coincides with the number exactly, showing that the calamity visited on the Risale-i Nur students and its author is being regulated by a Hand of Favour.3
 * * *
 1. Article 163 of the Turkish Criminal Code. (Tr.)
 2. This refers to the Medresetü'z-Zehra. See, note 33, page 328. (Tr.)
 3. It is worth noting that the arrests of some of the Risale-i Nur students started on 25th April,1935. Thus, because on the indictment one hundred and seventeen people were cited as guilty-the names of two of them had been repeated-the number shown for the students was one hundred and seventeen, this coincided with the one hundred and seventeen days from the date that group were arrested to the date of the court's judgement, adding a further subtlety to the former 'coincidence.'
  1. 376
 The Twenty-Eighth Point of the Twenty-Eighth Flash
 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
 [So] they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly, but be cast away from every side * Repulsed, for they are under a perpetual penalty, * Except such as snatch away something by stealth, and they are pursued by a flaming fire, of piercing brightness.1 * And We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles to drive away the evil ones.2
 An important point concerning verses like these will be explained in connection with criticisms made by the people of misguidance. It is as follows:
 Spies from among the jinn and satans eavesdrop on events in the heavens, and like soothsayers, mediums, and some spiritualists, convey news from the World of the Unseen. In order that their giving information about the Unseen should not give rise to any doubts when the Qur'an was first revealed, their continual espionage was prevented to a greater extent and they were repulsed by shooting stars. The following is a brief reply to an extremely important question in three parts concerning the above verses, which are about this subject.
 Q u e s t i o n : It is understood from verses like these that spying satans infiltrate the truly distant lands of the heavens in order to learn of some minor and even personal event in the Unseen. As though there were rumours of the minor event everywhere in those vast lands, wherever it is infiltrated by whichever satan, it will hear a confused version of the reports, and will pass it on. However, reason and science cannot accept such a thing.
 Also, it is said that some of the people of prophethood and some wonder-workers as though pluck from close to the fruits of Paradise, which according to definite verses of the Qur'an, is above the heavens, and sometimes gaze on Paradise from near at hand. This matter, which concerns infinite distance within infinite proximity, is not conformable with the understanding of the present age.
 Also, the unimportant situation of an unimportant person being the
 1. Qur'an, 37:8-10.
 2. Qur'an, 67:5.
  1. 377

subject of discussion of the Sublime Assembly in the universal, vast land of the heavens is not conformable with the wisdom of the most wise administration of the universe. Nevertheless, these three matters are considered to be among the truths of Islam.

 T h e A n s w e r : 
 Firstly: In the Seven Steps of the treatise called the Fifteenth Word, the repulsion and ejection with stars of diabolical spies from the heavens, expressed by the verse,
 And We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles to drive away the evil ones,
 is proved so certainly with seven introductions that it convinces the obdurate materialist, silencing him and forcing him to accept it.
 Secondly: We shall allude to those three truths which are supposed to be far from the reason with a comparison which will bring them close to narrow minds. 
 For example, if a state's Army Office is in the east of the country, its Ministry of Justice in the west, its Education Ministry in the north, its Religious Affairs Department in the south, and its Civil Service in the centre, and each department and ministry communicates and is connected with the others by means of radio, telephone, and telegraph in most regular and orderly fashion, the whole country will quite simply be its Army Office the same as it is its Ministry of Justice, and will be its learned establishment as it is its Civil Service.
 And for example, it sometimes happens that numerous countries and states whose capitals are different have sovereignty over a single country in different ways, through colonies, or concessions, or trade. Although the country's subjects and nation are one, through its concessions, each state has connections with them. The affairs of those states, which are distant from one another, touch on each other; they come close to each other in all the houses of the country, and they share in each of its people. Its minor matters are seen in a minor sphere in its points of contact. For each minor matter is not taken from the universal sphere. But when those minor matters are discussed, they are expressed as though they are taken from the universal sphere, since they are directly in accordance with the universal sphere's laws; they are given the form of a matter discussed in that sphere.
 Thus, like these two comparisons, although the land of the heavens is extremely distant in respect of its centre and capital, it has immaterial telephones reaching the hearts of men in the land of the earth. Furthermore, it does not only look to the corporeal world, but since it comprises the
  1. 378

Spirit World and World of the Inner Dimension of Things, it in one respect encompasses the Manifest World.

 The sphere of influence of Paradise too, which is from the world of eternity and everlasting realm, stretches out and spreads in luminous fashion beneath the veil of the manifest, despite its infinite distance. Just as although, through the wisdom and power of the All-Wise and Glorious Maker, the centres of the senses in man's head are all different, each governs the body, taking it under its disposal, so too the universe, the macroanthropos, comprises thousands of worlds one within the other like concentric circles. Sometimes the situations and events that occur in them are the object of attention in respect of their universality and particularity and insignificance and immensity, that is to say, those particulars are to be seen in particular, close places, while the universals and immense matters are seen in universal, vast stations.
 However, sometimes a minor, particular event occupies a vast world. In whichever corner of the world you listen, you will hear about it. And sometimes some vast mobilization is not against the enemy's forces, but to make a show of pomp and majesty. For example, the event of Muhammad (PBUH) and sacred occurrence of the revelation of the Qur'an were the most important events in the land of the heavens, being heard in every corner of it. As a dominical sign proclaiming the degree of splendour of the Qur'anic revelation, and its glittering sovereignty and the degree of its truthfulness, which no doubt could penetrate-expressed and illustrated by the sentries posted on the distant, towering bastions of the vast heavens raining down missiles to drive off and repulse the devils-at that time there were more falling stars being cast down. The Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition interprets and proclaims that cosmic proclamation, alluding to those heavenly signs.
 Yes, such a tremendous heavenly sign, and making the spying satans, who could have been blown away at the puffing of an angel, do battle with the angels were surely to show the majesty of the Qur'anic Revelation's sovereignty. Also, this splendid exposition of the Qur'an and vast heavenly mobilization is to express not that the jinns and satans possess some power which drove the inhabitants of the heavens to fight them and defend against them, but to indicate that on the long way from the heart of Muhammad (PBUH) to the world of the heavens and the Sublime Throne, there was nowhere the jinns and devils could interfere. The Qur'anic Revelation was a truth discussed by all the angels in the heavens; in order to draw close to it a little, the satans were compelled to rise to the heavens, but were not successful and were repulsed. This shows that the Revelation which came to the heart of Muhammad (PBUH), and
  1. 379

Gabriel who came to his presence, and the truths of the Unseen which appeared to his gaze, were sound and straight and could be pierced by no doubts. The Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition gives news of this in miraculous fashion.

 As for Paradise being seen from very close despite its great distance and being part of the World of Eternity, and sometimes fruits being received from it, as may be understood from the above two comparisons, this transient world and Manifest Realm is a veil to the World of the Unseen and Everlasting Realm. It is possible for Paradise to be seen everywhere by means of the mirror of the World of Similitudes, despite the distance of its supreme centre. So too by means of belief at the degree of 'absolute certainty', Paradise may have sorts of colonies and ministries in this transient world-there should be no mistake in the comparison-and by means of the telephone of the heart, may communicate with elevated spirits, and its gifts may come to them.
 As for a universal sphere being preoccupied with a particular personal matter; that is to say, one aspect of the reality described in Qur'anic commentaries as satans rising to the heavens and eavesdropping in order to bring reports of the Unseen to soothsayers, and their bringing false, confused news, it must be as follows: it is not a question of their going as far as the capital of the land of the heavens and gathering particular news. Rather, there are certain places in the country of the heavens, which also encompasses the atmosphere, like police stations-the metaphor is not mistaken-which have relations with the country of the earth. The satans eavesdrop on particular events in those particular places. The human heart even is one of those places, where the angel of inspiration and personal devil do battle. 
 Also, however particular the truths of belief and the Qur'an and the events connected with Muhammad (PBUH), they are like the greatest and most universal and important events and are published in the Sublime Throne and sphere of the heavens, the most universal sphere, in-if the comparison is not mistaken-the newspapers of the appointed events of the universe. These are discussed on every corner, and since from the heart of Muhammad (PBUH) to the sphere of the Throne there is no possibility to interfere, the satans can do nothing apart from listening to the heavens. Thus, it proclaims and shows most eloquently, indeed, miraculously, how elevated and true are the Qur'anic Revelation and Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), and that it is in no way possible to oppose them or draw close to them with subterfuge or falsehood.
 S a i d N u r s i
 * * *
  1. 380


 In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
 Thirteen years ago, my heart combined with my mind and urged me to the way of reflective thought which the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition commands with such verses as,
 That you may consider.1 * Perchance they may reflect.2 * Do they not reflect in their own minds, did God create the heavens and the earth?3 * There are signs for those who consider.4
 The Hadith the meaning of which is "An hour's reflective thought is better than a year's [voluntary] worship"5 states that on occasion an hour's reflection may be equivalent to a year's worship. It also offers powerful encouragement for reflective thought. For myself, in order to preserve the extensive lights and lengthy truths which appeared to my mind and heart during the thirteen years I have followed this way, I recorded a number of phrases by way of indications, not to point out those lights, but to indicate their existence, facilitate reflection, and preserve the order. I used to recite the phrases to myself verbally in varying Arabic terms when I embarked on the reflection. On being repeated thousands of times over
 1. Qur'an, 2:219; 2:266.
 2. Qur'an, 7:176, etc.
 3. Qur'an, 30:8.
 4. Qur'an, 13:3, etc.
 5. al-Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa i, 143; Ghazzali, Ihya Ulumi'd-Din iv, 409 (Kitabu'l-Tafakkur); al-Haythami, Majma'u'z-Zawa'id i, 78.
  1. 381

this long period, neither did I become wearied, nor did the pleasure they afforded diminish, nor the spirit's need of them lessen. Because, since the reflection all consisted of flashes from Qur'anic verses, the qualities of not causing weariness and preserving their sweetness, which are a qualities of the verses, were represented in the mirror of that reflective thought.

 I realized recently that the powerful source of life and brilliant lights in the various parts of the Risale-i Nur are flashes of those sequences of thought. Thinking that they would have the same effect on others that they had had on me, I made the intention to set them all down in writing towards the end of my life. Certainly, very important parts of them have been included in the Risale-i Nur, but a further power and value will be found in them in their totality.
 Since the end of life is not clear, and since the conditions here of my imprisonment have taken on a form worse than death, not waiting for my life to end, on the insistence and importunity of my brothers, those sequences of thought have been written, without changing them, as Seven Chapters.
 [The remaining six Chapters of this Flash have been published in the hand-duplicated editions of The Flashes, and not included here.]
 On the Degrees of 'God is Most Great!'
 We shall mention seven of its thirty-three degrees. An important part of those degrees have been expounded in the Second Station of the Twentieth Letter, at the end of the Second Stopping-Place of the Thirty-Second Word, and at the beginning of the Third Stopping-Place. Those who want to understand the reality of those degrees should refer to those two parts of the Risale-i Nur.
 T h e F i r s t D e g r e e 
 Say: "Praise be to God Who begets no son and has no partner in [His] dominion: nor [needs] He any to protect Him from humiliation: yes, magnify Him for His greatness and glory!"6
 God is Most Great, may His Glory be exalted! In regard to power and knowledge greater is He than everything. For He is the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form, Who through His power fashions man like the
 6. Qur'an, 17:111.
  1. 382

universe, and writes the universe with the pen of His determining as He writes man with that same pen. For the macrocosm is like the microcosm: both are fashioned by His power, inscribed by His pen; He creates the macrocosm as a place of prostration, while He gives existence to the microcosm so that it is prostrating; He brings the former into being as a property, while He gives existence to the latter as owned and needy for the property; His art in the former displays it as a book, while His colouring in the latter shines through speech; His power in the former reveals His majesty, while His mercy in the latter arrays His bounty; His majesty in the former testifies that He is One, while His bounty in the latter proclaims that He is Single, Undivided; His stamp on the former is on all things, universal and particular, whether at rest or in motion, while His seal on the latter is on the body and on the limbs, and on their cells and particles.

 Now consider His works as a whole: you will as clearly as daylight absolute profusion within absolute order and regularity; with absolute speed yet absolute balance; with absolute ease yet with absolute skill; on a vast scale yet with absolute beauty of art; over infinite distances yet with complete unity of kind; with absolute intermingling, yet absolute differentiation; with absolute lack of expense together with absolute value. This situation testifies to the mind, as it compels the foolish dissembler to accept, that this art and unity is the work of one possessing absolute power, one possessing absolute knowledge.
 In unity lies absolute ease, while in multiplicity and associating partners with God are incomprehensible difficulties.
 If all things are attributed to one, then the creation of the universe is as easy as the creation of a palm-tree, and the palm-tree as the fruit. But when ascribed to multiplicity, to create a palm-tree is as difficult as creating the universe and each fruit as difficult as the tree-so difficult as to be impossible. For with a single act, a single person may obtain a single result and situation for many things without difficulty and without having recourse to other means. Whereas if the situation and result are referred to many, it would be possible to obtain them only with great trouble and dispute and pursuing other means. It would be like an officer referring his duty to the soldiers, the master builder to the stones of a building, the earth to the planets, the waterfall to the drops of water, and the central point of a circle to all the points on the circumference.
 Through the mystery of 'relations' an unlimited power is present in Unity. A thing or cause is not compelled to carry the sources of its strength, and the work resulting from the cause gains in greatness in relation to the thing on which it relies. But when partners are associated with God, all causes are obliged to carry their own sources of strength, and the
  1. 383
 resulting works diminish to the extent of their own size. And it is because of this that an ant and a fly defeated tyrants, and a tiny seed bears upon it a huge tree.
 If all things are ascribed to one person, there is no need for creation from absolute non-existence. Creation rather consists of transferring a being which has existence in knowledge to external existence, like transferring the image on the mirror at the back of a camera onto photographic paper, thus establishing its external existence with complete ease, or like revealing words written in invisible ink by spreading on the writing a special substance.
 When things are ascribed to causes and multiplicity, it necessitates that they are created from absolute non-existence, and this is impossible, the most difficult of things. In Unity is an ease; it is so easy as to be necessary. While in multiplicity is great difficulty; it is so difficult as to be impossible.
 In accordance with wisdom, with Unity, it is possible to create a being from absolute non-existence. That is, to create a being out of pure non-being instantaneously, without matter, and to pour particles into the mould which has existence in knowledge without difficulty or confusion. While as all the intelligent agree, with multiplicity and associating partners with God, original creation is not possible from non-existence. Because for the existence of a living creature, particles and elements dispersed throughout the earth have to be gathered together. And when there is no mould existent in knowledge, to preserve the particles in the body of the animate creature, all the particles have to possess all-encompassing knowledge and absolute will. 
 In addition, there is no need at all for those things supposed to be partners to God, just as it is impossible for them to be partners. To claim therefore that they are partners is purely arbitrary; there is nothing in beings to suggest that they have any role in their creation, no sign. For the creation of the heavens and the earth necessitates perfect, infinite power, which is in no need of partners. If there were partners, it would necessitate their limiting that infinite and utterly perfect power and bringing it to an end in infinite time, although there is no necessity for this, indeed, although the reverse is necessitated; and this is impossible in five respects. Such partners are therefore impossible and precluded. Moreover, beings in no way suggest or point to their existence.
 We have expounded this matter in the First Stopping-Place of the Thirty-Second Word, showing how all things from minute particles to planets, and from the planets to individual facial features in the Second
  1. 384

Stopping-Place, reject the ascribing of partners with God, and pointing out the stamp of Divine Unity on all of them.

 And just as He has no partners, so He has no assistants or ministers. Causes are nothing other than fine veils to the disposals of Pre-Eternal power; in reality they have no creative effect. For the highest of causes, and the one with the most extensive will, is man, and out of a hundred parts of the most obvious volitional acts like eating, speaking, and thinking, he has only one dubious part. If the true power of disposal of the highest of causes and the one with the most extensive will is thus restricted as you have seen, then how is it possible for the animals and inanimate creatures to have a part in the creation and dominicality of the Creator of the heavens and the earth? Just as the envelope in which a king sends a gift, or the handkerchief in which he wraps a present, or the retainer who brings the gift to you, cannot be partners in the king's sovereignty, so too the causes by the hands of which bounties are sent, or the coffers containing the bounties stored up for us, or the causes wrapped up as Divine gifts and sent to us as presents, cannot be partners to or assistants of God, or intermediaries which have any effect.
 T h e S e c o n d D e g r e e 
 God is Most Great, may His glory be exalted; in regard to power and knowledge greater than everything. He is the Creator, All-Knowing, the Maker, All-Wise, Most Merciful, All-Compassionate. For the beings of the earth and the lofty celestial bodies in the garden of the universe are self-evidently miracles of the power of an All-Knowing Creator; and the adorned and multicoloured plants laid out in the park of the face of the earth and the many varieties of animals displayed and spread throughout the park are necessarily the wonders of art of an All-Wise Maker; and the smiling flowers and decorated fruits in the gardens of this park are clearly the gifts of a Most Merciful and Compassionate One. These miracles of power and wonders of art and gifts of mercy testify, call out, and proclaim that their Creator, Fashioner, and Bestower is powerful over all things, and knowing of all things, that His mercy and knowledge encompass all things. In relation to His power particles and stars are equal; few and many are equal; small and great, finite and infinite are equal. All the events of the past and its strange happenings, which are miracles of an All-Wise Maker's art, testify that this Maker is powerful over all the possibilities of the future and its strange events, for He is an All-Knowing Creator, Exalted, All-Wise.
 Glory be to the One Who made the earth the exhibition of His art, the gathering place of His creatures, the manifestation of His power, the
  1. 385

means of His wisdom, the garden of His mercy, the arable field of His Paradise, the place of passage of creatures, the place through which beings flow, the measure of His artefacts.

 The embellished animals, the decorated birds, the trees made fruitful, the plants adorned with flowers are miracles of His knowledge, marvels of His fashioning, gifts of His munificence, proofs of His grace.
 Blossoms smiling with the adornment of fruits, birds singing in the early morning breeze, rain pattering on the petals of flowers, mothers tenderly embracing their small young, all make known One All-Loving, make loved One Most Merciful, Most Kind and Generous to jinn and man, to spirit beings, the angels, and to animals.
 Grains and fruits, seeds and flowers are miracles of wisdom, marvels of art, gifts of mercy, proofs of unity; they testify to His grace in the realm of the Hereafter. They are truthful witnesses testifying that their Creator is powerful over all things, and knowing of all things; that with His mercy and knowledge and creativity, planning, art, and fashioning He encompasses all things. In relation to His creation, planning, art, and fashioning the sun is like a tiny seed, a star like a flower, the earth like a grain.
 For seeds and fruits are mirrors of Unity in every part of multiplicity; they point to Divine Determining; they are signs of power showing the Unity of the source of this multiplicity. Proceeding from that source they testify to the Unity of their Creator's art and fashioning. Then on their coming to an end in Unity they recount the wisdom of their Maker's creativity and planning. 
 Seeds and fruits are also allusions of wisdom indicating that the Creator of the universal looks with His all-encompassing view to the particular, then to the parts. For the fruits are the clearest aim of the tree's creation. Thus, man is the aim of the universe, and the chief aim of the Creator of beings. Man's heart is like a seed, and the most luminous mirror to the Maker of creatures. It is due to this wisdom that in the universe, insignificant man is the chief means to and reason for the resurrection of beings, and the destruction, transformation, change and renewal of the universe.
 God is Most Great! O Mighty One! The mind cannot penetrate the essence of Your tremendousness!
 All beings recite together "There is no god but He!"
 Perpetually seeking their needs, they declare "O Truth!"
 Altogether they recite "O Living One!" 
  1. 386
 T h e T h i r d D e g r e e7
 This is explained and elucidated at the beginning of the Third Stopping-Place of the Thirty-Second Word.
 God is Most Great, may His glory be exalted! -in respect of power and knowledge greater than all things. For He is All-Powerful, the Determiner, All-Knowing, All-Wise, the Giver of Form, Munificent, Gracious, the Adorner, the Bestower of Bounties, Loving, the One Who makes Himself known, Most Merciful, All-Compassionate, Kind, the Beauteous One of Absolute Beauty and Perfection, the Pre-Eternal Inscriber. What is the reality of the universe as a whole and with its parts, and with its levels and pages, and what is the reality of beings as a whole and as individuals, and in regard to existence and permanence: 
 * Other than being the well-ordered, measured writings of the pen of His Determining and Decree, according to knowledge and wisdom;
 * And the depictions of the compasses of His knowledge and wisdom, traced with art; 
 * And the adornments of the shining hand of His art and bestowal of form, His embellishing and illuminating, with grace and munificence; 
 * And the flowers of the subtleties of His grace and munificence, His making Himself known and loved, bounteously, with mercy;
 * And the fruits of the superabundance of the spring of His mercy and bounty, His mercy and tenderness, with beauty and perfection;
 * And the flashes of an eternal beauty, a perpetual perfection, testified to by the transience of the mirrors and flowing on of the places of reflection together with the continuance of the beauty's manifestation through the passage of the seasons, the centuries, and epochs, together with the continued bestowal of bounty throughout the passage of creatures, time, and beings.
 Yes, the fleeting nature of the mirrors and the passing of beings together with the constant manifestations and effulgences shows with the utmost clarity that that evident beauty and shining perfection do not belong to the places of manifestation; they prove most clearly and eloquently that they belong to a transcendent Beauty, a transcendent Bestower, to the Necessary Existent, the Enduring One, the Loving One.
 7. This Third Degree considers a flower and a beautiful woman. The huge spring is a flower, and so is Paradise. They are the places of manifestation of this degree. The world is a beautiful and vast human being. Houris, and spirit beings, animals, and men, all as realms of being, bear the meaning of a human being; through their pages, they show the Divine Names this Degree points out.
  1. 387
 For a perfect work self-evidently points to a perfect act. And a perfect act necessarily points to a perfect name and a perfect performer of the act. And a perfect name doubtlessly points to a perfect attribute. And a perfect attribute without doubt points to a perfect quality. And a perfect quality certainly points in a way worthy of such a one, to the perfection of his essence. This is absolutely certain.
 T h e F o u r t h D e g r e e 
 God is Most Great, may His glory be exalted! For He is All-Just, the Pre-Eternal All-Wise Arbiter and Sovereign, Who established the body of the tree of the universe in six days in accordance with the principles of His wisdom and will. He divided it into sections in accordance with the rules of His Determining and Decree. He set it in order through the laws of His practices. He adorned and embellished it according to the laws of His mercy and favour. He illumined it through the manifestations of His Names and attributes. All this is testified to by the order and regularity of His artefacts, the adorning of His beings, and their mutual resemblance and harmony, their mutual assistance and co-operation, their embracing one another, and the conscious, skilful art in all things in accordance with the measure of their capacities, specified by Divine Determining.
 * The universal wisdom in the order of the universe,
 * and the perfect favour in its adornment,
 * and the all-encompassing mercy in the grace bestowed in it,
 * and the sustenance and provisions to nurture its beings,
 * and through its manifesting the essential attributes of its Creator, the wondrous life and art it displays, 
 * and the intended beauties of its embellishment,
 * and despite its transience, the constant manifestation of reflected beauty in it,
 * and the true love in its heart for the One it worships,
 * and the attraction evident in its ecstasy,
 * and the agreement of all perfected ones in it concerning the Unity of its Creator,
 * and the benefits followed in all its parts,
 * and its results achieved through wise planning,
 * and the generous nurturing of its living beings,
 * and the perfect order in the changes in its chief elements,
 * and the vast aims followed in the order of its totality,
 * and its instantaneous creation with utterly perfect art, without need for either time or matter,
  1. 388
 * and the wise individualities given to its beings hesitant amid limitless possibilities,
 * and the most numerous and various needs of its beings being met at the most appropriate times in unexpected ways, and even their smallest wishes, which they themselves are unable to meet,
 * and the absolute strength manifested in its weakness,
 * and the absolute power manifested in its impotence,
 * and the life apparent in its lifelessness,
 * and the encompassing consciousness apparent in its ignorance,
 * and the perfect order within its changes, necessitating the existence of another who is unchanging,
 * and its glorifications like concentric circles centred on one point,
 * and the acceptance of its three sorts of supplications, offered through 'the tongue of latent ability,' 'the tongue of innate need,' and 'the tongue of exigency,'
 * and the invocations, and witnessings, and effulgences in its worship,
 * and the order in its determining,
 * and the peace found in the remembrance of its Creator,
 * and the worship in it being a means of bringing together its beginning and its end, and the cause of its perfections becoming apparent and the purposes of its Maker being realized,
 * and together with these, all the rest of the universe's attributes, states, and circumstances testify that all its beings are under the direction of a Single Wise Planner, and sustained by a Single Munificent Provider; that they are all the servants of a Single Master; under the disposal of a Single Disposer, and that their source is the power of a Single One the many seals of Whose Unity are apparent on all the missives of all the pages of His beings.
 Yes, all flowers and fruits, and plants and trees, and animals and stones, and even particles and clods, in all valleys and on all mountains, and deserts and wildernesses, are seals between the inscriptions and the works. To those who look with care, they show that whoever made the work, is he who wrote the inscription which comprises the place. He is also the Inscriber of the face of the earth and beneath the seas. He inscribed too the sun and the moon on the face of the heavens, which contains many such missives. May the glory of their Inscriber be exalted, God is Most Great!
 The world and all in it recite together "There is no god but He!"
  1. 389
 T h e F i f t h D e g r e e8
 God is Most Great! For He is the All-Powerful Creator, the Giver of Form, All-Seeing, of Whose Divinity and Tremendousness the heavenly bodies and brilliant glittering stars are proofs; they are rays testifying to His dominicality and splendour. They testify to and proclaim His glittering sovereignty and dominicality; they proclaim the vast extent of His rule and His wisdom, and the majestic vastness of His power. 
 Listen to the verse:
 Do they not lok at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it?9
 Then look at the face of the heavens, you see how it is silent in its tranquillity, how it is in motion with wisdom, how it is radiant with majesty, how it smiles with its adornment, within the order of its creation, the symmetry of its art.
 The shining of its lamp, the sun, for the changing of the seasons, the stages of its candle, the moon, to illuminate the tracks, the glittering of its stars to adorn the worlds, proclaim to those who think an infinite, unending sovereignty regulating this world.
 Thus, the All-Powerful Creator is Knowing of all things, His will is all-encompassing; what He wills is, and what He does not will is not. He is Powerful over all things through His essential, all-embracing, absolute power. Like it is neither possible nor imaginable for the sun today to exist without light or heat, so it is neither possible nor imaginable for a god and creator of the heavens to exist without all-embracing knowledge and absolute power. Of necessity He is Knowing of all things with all-encompassing knowledge essential to His being. Of necessity such knowledge is connected with all things; through the mystery of presence, witnessing, penetration, and luminous all-comprehension, it is not possible for anything to be separate or apart from such knowledge. 
 The balance and order to be observed in all beings, and the ordered proportionateness, and the universal wisdom, and the perfect bestowal, and the measured regularity, and the determined fruitfulness, and the specified appointed hour of death, and the regular sustenance, the utter excellence and precision as established by science, and the solicitous adornment, and the utterly perfect differentiation, balance, order, and skill, and the absolute ease, all testify to the all-encompassing knowledge of the One All-Knowing of the Unseen and all things.
 8. This is explained and illustrated in the Addendum to the First Stopping-Place of the Thirty-Second Word and in the Second Station of the Twentieth Word.
 9. Qur'an, 50:6.
  1. 390
 As the verse,
 Should He not know -He that created? And He is the One that understands the finest mysteries [and] is well-acquainted [with them]10
 indicates, the existence of a thing necessitates knowledge, and the light of existence of things necessitates the light of knowledge.
 The comparison between man's fine art pointing to his intelligence and the evidence of man's creation to His Creator's knowledge, is like the comparison of the infinitesimal light of a fire-fly on a dark night and the splendid brilliance of the sun at noon on the face of the earth.
 And if He is Knowing of all things, so He is Willing of all things. For it is not possible for something to be realized without it being willed. And just as power is effectual, and knowledge distinguishes, so will specifies; then the existence of things is realized.
 There are evidences to the existence of the Divine will and choice to the number of states, stages, and attributes of things.
 Yes, all beings being given order and appointed with particular attributes from among limitless possibilities, amid fruitless ways from among confused floods of incongruous elements, with such fine and sensitive order, and their being given balance with such fine and sensitive balance, as is to be observed; and the creation of the various well-ordered living beings from simple lifeless matter-like man and his physical systems from sperm, and birds and their limbs from eggs, and trees and their various members from seeds- show that all things are specified and determined through His will and choice and volition. Just as things of the same sort corresponding to one another and members of the same species resembling each other in regard to basic members shows that of necessity their Maker is One, Single; so too each member having a wise individuality marked by orderly distinguishing features indicates that that One, Single Maker is an Agent with Will and Choice Who acts as He wishes and commands as He wills.
 And just as that All-Knowing and Willing Creator has knowledge of all things and is willing of all things, and has all-embracing knowledge and all-encompassing will and total choice; so too He has necessary, essential perfect power, proceeding from His Essence and necessary to it. The intervention of its opposite is impossible. For that would necessitate the combining of opposites, which is impossible, as all are agreed. So there are no degrees in His power. Particles and stars are equal in relation
 10. Qur'an, 67:14.
  1. 391

to it, as are many and few, small and great, particulars and universals, parts and the whole, man and the universe, and the seed and the tree.

 * Through the mystery of 'luminosity', 'transparency', 'reciprocity', 'balance', 'order', and 'conformity';
 * According to the testimony of absolute order, absolute balance, and absolute differentiation, together with absolute speed, ease, and multiplicity;
 * Through the mystery of 'the assistance of Unity', 'the facility of Unity', and 'the manifestation of Oneness;'
 * Through the wisdom of 'necessity', 'total detachment and disengagedness', and 'complete otherness of essence;'
 * Through the mystery of 'unrestrictedness', 'not being bound by space', and 'indivisibility;'
 * Through the wisdom of the transformation of obstructions and difficulties into means for facilitation-if there was need, though there is none-like veins in human beings and metal wires for conducting electricity and subtle forces;
 * Through the wisdom of particles being of no less eloquence than the stars, nor particulars of less eloquence than universals, nor parts less than wholes, nor the few less than the many, nor the small less than the great, nor man less than the world, nor seeds of less eloquence than the tree; 
 * According to all these, particles are equal to the stars before that power, few are equal to many, small are equal to great, the parts and equal to the whole, particulars are equal to universals, man is equal to the world, and the seed equal to the tree; it cannot be deemed unlikely that whoever creates the former creates the latter. For the beings that are encompassed are miniature samples of the universal, encompassing beings, and like tiny missives, or points distilled from them. That is to say, the thing that is encompassed has to be in the grasp of power of the Creator of the encompassing being so that the miniature sample of the encompassing being may be contained within the encompassed thing through the principles of His knowledge, and the summary of the encompassing being may be pressed out of it in accordance with the balance of His wisdom.
 A Qur'an of Wisdom written on an atom in particles of ether is of no less eloquence than a Qur'an of Grandeur written on the pages of the heavens with the ink of the sun and stars. So too the creation