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The Sixteenth Letter


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.


Men said to them: “A great army is gathering against you,” and frightened them. But it [only] increased their belief; they said: “For us God suffices, and He is the best Disposer of Affairs.”1


This letter manifested the meaning of the verse, But speak to him mildly,2 and was not written vehemently. It is the answer to a question asked me explicitly and implicitly by many people.


[To reply is not agreeable to me and I do not want to, for I have bound everything to reliance on God. But since I have not been left in peace to myself in my own world and since they have directed my attention towards the world, I am compelled to propound five Points in the language of the Old Said in order to explain the reality of the situation both to my friends, and to ‘the worldly,’ and to those in authority, so as to save not myself, but my friends and my Words, from the suspicions and ill-treatment of ‘the worldly.’]




It is asked: “Why have you withdrawn from politics and now have nothing to do with it?”


T h e A n s w e r : The Old Said of nine or ten years ago was involved in politics a certain amount; indeed, thinking he would serve religion and learning by means of politics, he was wearied for nothing. And he saw that it is a dangerous way which is doubtful and full of difficulties and for me superfluous, as well as forming an obstacle to the most necessary duties. It is mostly lies and there is the possibility of unknowingly being a tool in the hand of Europe. Furthermore, one who enters politics is either successful or is in opposition. As for being successful, since I am neither an official nor a deputy, to work in politics is unnecessary and nonsense for me. Politics has no need for me so that I should interfere for nothing. If I join the opposition, I would do so either with ideas or with force. If it was with ideas there is no need for me, for the questions are all clear, and everyone knows them as I do. To wag one’s chin pointlessly is meaningless. If I join the opposition for the purpose of force and to provoke an incident, there would be the possibility of committing thousands of sins in order to obtain a doubtful goal. Many people would be afflicted by disaster on account of one. So saying that in conscience he could not accept committing sins and causing the innocent to commit sins due to a one or two in ten possibility, the Old Said gave up cigarettes together with the newspapers, politics, and worldly conversation about politics. Decisive evidence for this is the fact that for the past eight years I have not read a single newspaper nor listened to one being read. Let someone come forward and say that I have read one or listened to one. Whereas eight years ago the Old Said used to read perhaps eight newspapers every day. Furthermore, for the past five years I have been under the closest scrutiny and surveillance. Anyone who has observed the slightest hint of political activity should say so. But for someone like me who is nervous, fearless, and without attachment, who considers the best stratagem to be without stratagem, his ideas will not remain secret for eight days, let alone eight years. If he had had the appetite and desire for politics, he would not have left any necessity for investigation and scrutiny, he would have given voice like the firing of a cannon.




Why does the New Said avoid politics with such vehemence?


T h e A n s w e r : He avoids it so vehemently in order to serve belief and the Qur’an, which is of the greatest importance, the greatest necessity and is the most pure and most right, in order not to sacrifice unnecessarily and officiously for one or two doubtful years of worldly life the working for and gaining of more than millions of years of eternal life. For he says: I am getting old and I do not know how many more years I shall live, so the most important question for me must be to work for eternal life. The prime means of gaining eternal life and the key to everlasting happiness is belief, so one has to work for that. But since I am obliged by the Shari‘a to serve people in respect of learning so that they may profit also, I want to perform such a duty. However, such service will either concern social and worldly life, which I cannot do, and also in stormy times it is not possible to perform such service soundly. Therefore, I left aside that aspect and chose the aspect of service to belief, which is the most important, the most necessary, and the soundest. I leave that door open so that the truths of belief I have gained for myself and the spiritual remedies I have myself experienced may be acquired by others. Perhaps Almighty God will accept this service and make it atonement for my former sins. Apart from Satan the Accursed, no one, be it a believer or an unbeliever, one of the veracious or an atheist, has the right to oppose this work. For unbelief resembles nothing else. In tyrannizing, vice, and grievous sins there may be an inauspicious satanic pleasure, but in unbelief there is no sort of pleasure at all. It is pain upon pain, darkness upon darkness, torment upon torment.


Just how contrary to reason it would be for someone like me who is unattached, alone, and compelled to atone for his former sins to leave aside working for an endless eternal life and serving a sacred light like belief, and to cast himself in old age into the unnecessary, perilous games of politics—just how contrary to wisdom, just what a lunacy it would be even lunatics would understand!


But if you ask why service to the Qur’an and belief prohibit me, I would say: Since the truths of belief and the Qur’an are each like diamonds, if I was polluted by politics, the ordinary people who are easily deceived, would wonder about those diamonds I was holding, “Aren’t they for political propaganda to attract more supporters?” They might regard the diamonds as bits of common glass. Then by being involved with politics, I would be wronging the diamonds and as though reducing their value. And so, O you whose view is restricted to this world! Why do you struggle against me? Why do you not leave me to myself?


If you say: The shaykhs sometimes interfere in our business, and they sometimes call you a shaykh.


I reply: Good sirs! I am not a shaykh, I am a hoja [teacher]. The evidence is this: I have been here four years and if I had taught a single person the Sufi way, you would have had the right to be suspicious. But I have told everyone who has come to me: Belief is necessary, Islam is necessary; this is not the age of Sufism.


If you say: They call you Said-i Kurdi; perhaps you have some nationalist ideas, and that doesn’t suit our interests.


I would reply: Sirs! The things the Old Said and the New Said have written are clear. I cite as testimony the certain statement, “Islam has abrogated the tribalism of Ignorance.” For years I have considered negative nationalism and racialism to be a fatal poison, since it is a variety of European disease. And Europe has infected Islam with that disease thinking it would cause division, and Islam would break up and be easily swallowed. My students and those who have had anything to do with me know that for years I have tried to treat that disease. Since it is thus, good sirs, I wonder why you make every incident a pretext to harass me? According to what principle do you cause me distress at every worldly incident, like punishing and inflicting trouble on a soldier in the West because of a mistake made by a soldier in the East due to the connection of the army, or convicting a shopkeeper in Baghdad because of a crime committed by a tradesman in Istanbul due to their being in the same line of business? How can the conscience demand this? What benefit can require it?




My friends who wonder how I am and are astonished at my meeting every calamity silently with patience ask the following question: “How can you endure the difficulties and troubles with which you are faced, whereas formerly you were very proud and angry and could not endure even the least insult?”


T h e A n s w e r : Listen to two short incidents and stories and you shall receive your answer:


The First Story: Two years ago an official spoke insultingly and contemptuously about me behind my back. They later told me about it. For about an hour I was affected due to the Old Said’s vein of temperament. Then through Almighty God’s mercy the following fact occurred to me; it dispelled the distress and made me forgive the man. The fact is this:


I addressed my soul saying: if his insults and the faults he described concern my person and my soul, may God be pleased with him, because he recounted the faults of my soul. If he spoke the truth, he drove me to train my soul and he helped in saving me from arrogance. If he spoke falsely, he has helped to save me from hypocrisy and undeserved fame, the source of hypocrisy. No, I have not been reconciled with my soul, for I have not trained it. If someone tells me there is a scorpion on my neck or breast or else points it out to me, I should be grateful to him, not offended. But if the man’s insults were directed towards my belief and my attribute of being servant of the Qur’an, it does not concern me. I refer him to the Qur’an’s Owner, Who employs me. He is Mighty, He is Wise. And if it was merely to curse at me, insult me, and destroy my character, that does not concern me either. For I am an exile, a prisoner, a stranger, and my hands are tied, and it does not fall to me to try to restore my honour myself. It rather concerns the authorities of this village where I am a guest and under surveillance, then of the district, then of the province. Insulting the prisoner of a person, concerns the person; he defends the prisoner. Since the reality of the matter is this, my heart became easy. I said,


My [own] affair I commit to God; for God [ever] watches over His servants.3


I thought of the incident as not having happened. But unfortunately it was later understood that the Qur’an had not forgiven him...


The Second Story: This year I heard that an incident had occurred. Although I only heard a brief account of it after it had happened, I was treated as though I had been closely connected with it. Anyway I do not correspond with anyone, and if I do, I only write extremely rarely concerning some question of belief to a friend. In fact I have written only one letter to my brother in four years. Both I prevent myself from mixing with others, and ‘the worldly’ prevent me. I have only been able to meet with one or two close friends once or twice a week. As for visitors to the village, once or twice a month perhaps one or two used to meet with me for one or two minutes concerning some matter to do with the hereafter. In exile, a stranger, alone, with no one, I was barred from everything, from everyone, in a village which was unsuitable for someone like me to work for a livelihood. Even, four years ago I repaired a tumble-down mosque. Although with the certificate I had from my own region to act an imam and preacher I acted as imam in the mosque for four years (May God accept it), this past Ramadan I could not go to the mosque. Sometimes I performed the five daily prayers alone. I was deprived of the twenty-fivefold merit and good of performing the prayers in congregation.


And so, I showed the same patience and forbearance in the face of these two incidents that befell me as I did towards the treatment of that official two years ago. God willing I shall continue to do so. I think like this and say: if this ill-treatment, distress, and oppression inflicted on me by ‘the worldly’ is for my faulty soul, I forgive it. Perhaps my soul will be reformed by means of it, and perhaps it will be atonement for its sins. I have experienced many of the good things in this guest-house of the world; if I experience a little of its trials, I shall still offer thanks. If ‘the worldly’ oppress me because of my service to belief and the Qur’an, it is not up to me to defend it. I refer it to the Mighty and Compelling One. If the intention is to destroy the regard in which I am held generally, to expunge undeserved fame, which is baseless and causes hypocrisy and destroys sincerity, then may God bless them! For I consider being held in regard by people generally and gaining a name among them to be harmful for people like me. Those who have dealings with me know that I do not want respect to be shown to me, indeed, I can’t abide it. I have even scolded a valuable friend of mine perhaps fifty times for showing me excessive respect. If their intention in slandering me, belittling me in the eyes of the people, and defaming me is directed towards the truths of belief and the Qur’an of which I am the interpreter, it is pointless. For a veil cannot be drawn over the stars of the Qur’an. “One who closes his eyes only himself does not see; he does not make it night for anyone else.”






The answer to a number of suspicious questions:


T h e F i r s t : ‘The worldly’ say to me: “How do you live? What do you live on since you do not work? We don’t want people in our country who sit around idly and live off the labour of others.”


T h e A n s w e r : I live through frugality and the resulting plenty. I am not obliged to anyone other the One Who Provides for me and I have taken the decision not to become obliged to anyone else. Yes, someone who lives on a hundred para, or even forty para, does not become obliged to anyone. I do not want to explain this matter. To do so is most disagreeable to me, as it may make me feel a sort of pride or egotism. But since ‘the worldly’ ask about it suspiciously, I reply as follows: since my childhood, throughout my life, it has been a principle of my life not to accept anything from the people, even zakat, not to accept a salary —only I was compelled to accept one for one or two years in the Darü’l-Hikmeti’l-Islamiye on the insistence of my friends— and not to become obliged to people for a worldly livelihood. The people of my native region and those who have known me in other places know this. During these five years of exile, many friends have tried earnestly to make me accept their gifts, but I have accepted none of them. And so, if it is asked me, “So how do you manage to live?”, I reply: I live through Divine bestowal and blessings. For sure, my soul deserves all insults and contempt, but as a wonder resulting from service of the Qur’an, I receive plenty and blessings which are a Divine bestowal in the matter of sustenance. In accordance with the verse,


But the bounty of your Sustainer rehearse and proclaim,4


I shall recall the bounties Almighty God has bestowed on me, and mention a few examples by way of thanks. But together with being thanks, I am frightened that it will induce hypocrisy and pride so that blessed plenty will be cut. For to make known a secret Divine gift of plenty causes it to cease. But what can I do, I am compelled to tell them.


And so, The First: This six months one bushel (kile)5 of wheat, consisting of thirty-six loaves of bread, has sufficed me. There is still some left, it is not finished. How much longer6 it will last, I do not know.


The Second: This blessed month of Ramadan I received food from only two houses, and both of them made me ill. I understood that I am prohibited from eating the food of others. The rest of the time, in the whole of Ramadan, three loaves of bread and one okka7 of rice sufficed me, as was witnessed and told by Abdullah Çavus, the owner of a blessed house and a loyal friend who saw my economizing. The rice even was finished two weeks after the end of Ramadan.


The Third: For three months on the mountain one kiyye8 of butter was enough for me and my guests, eating it every day together with bread. On one occasion even I had a blessed visitor called Süleyman. Both his bread and my bread were about to be finished. It was Wednesday. I told him to go and get some bread. For two hours’ distance to every side of us there was no one from whom he could have got any bread. He said that he wanted to stay with me on the mountain on Thursday night so that we could pray together. Saying, Our reliance is on God, I told him to stay. Later, although it had no connection with this and there was no reason for it, we both began walking till we reached the top of mountain. There was a little water in the ewer, and we had a small piece of sugar and some tea. I said to him: “Brother! Make some tea!” He set about making it and I sat down under a cedar-tree overlooking a deep ravine. I thought regretfully to myself: we have a bit of mouldy bread which will only just be enough for us this evening. What shall we do for two days and what shall I say to this ingenuous man? While thinking this, I suddenly turned my head involuntarily and I saw a huge loaf of bread on the cedar-tree in among the branches; it was facing us. I exclaimed: “Süleyman! Good news! Almighty God has sent us food.” We took the bread, and looking at it saw that no bird or wild animal had touched it. And for twenty or thirty days no one at all had climbed to the top of that mountain. The bread was sufficient for us for the two days. While we were eating and it was about to be finished, righteous Süleyman who had been the most loyal of loyal friends for four years, suddenly appeared from below with more bread.


The Fourth: I bought this sack coat that I’m wearing seven years ago second-hand. In five years I have spent only four and a half liras on clothes, underwear, slippers, and stockings. Frugality and Divine mercy and the resulting plenty have sufficed me.


Thus, there are numerous things like these examples and numerous sorts of Divine blessings. The people of this village know most of them. But do not suppose I am mentioning them out of pride, I have been forced to, rather. But do not think they were due to my goodness. These instances of plenty were either bestowal to the sincere friends who have visited me, or a bestowal on account of service to the Qur’an, or an abundance and benefit resulting from frugality, or they have been sustenance for the four cats I have which recite the Divine Names “O Most Compassionate One! O Most Compassionate One!”, which comes in the form of plenty and from which I benefit too.


Yes, if you listen carefully to their mournful miaowings, you will understand that they are saying, “O Most Compassionate One! O Most Compassionate One!” We have arrived at the subject of cats and it has recalled the hen. I have a hen. This winter every day almost without exception she brought me an egg from the treasury of Mercy. Then one day she brought me two eggs and I was astonished. I asked my friends “How can this be?” They replied: “Perhaps it is a Divine gift.” The hen also has a young chick she hatched in the summer. It started to lay at the beginning of Ramadan and continued for forty days. Neither I nor those who assist me have any doubt that, being both young, and in winter, and in Ramadan, this blessed situation was a Divine gift and bestowal. And whenever the mother stopped laying, it immediately started, not leaving me without eggs.


S e c o n d S u s p i c i o u s Q u e s t i o n : ‘The worldly’ ask: How can we be confident that you will not interfere in our world? If we leave you free, perhaps you may interfere in it. Also, how do we know that you are not being cunning? How do we know that it is not a stratagem, showing yourself to have abandoned the world and not taking things from the people openly, but secretly?


T h e A n s w e r : My attitude and situation in the Court Martial and in the period before the proclamation of the Constitution, which are known by many, and my defence in the Court Martial at that time called The Testimony of Two Schools of Misfortune, show decisively that the life I lived was such that I would not resort to the tiniest wiles, let alone cunning and subterfuge. If trickery had been resorted to in this last five years, application would have been made to you in sycophantic manner. A wilely man tries to ingratiate himself. He does not hold back; he always tries to deceive and hoodwink. Whereas I have not condescended to lower myself by responding to the severest attacks and criticisms levelled at me. Saying, I place my trust in God, I turned my back on ‘the worldly.’ Moreover, one who discovers the reality of this world and knows the hereafter, is not sorry if he is sensible; he does not turn back to the world and struggle with it again. Someone after the age of fifty who has no connection with anything and is alone, will not sacrifice eternal life for one or two years of the chatter and deception of this world. If he does so, he is not cunning, but foolish and crazy. What can a crazy lunatic do so that anyone should bother with him? As for the suspicion of outwardly abandoning the world while inwardly seeking it, in accordance with the verse,


Nor do I absolve my own self [of blame]; the [human] soul is certainly prone to evil,9


I do not exonerate my soul, for it wants everything bad. But in this fleeting world, this temporary guest-house, during old age, in a brief life, it is not reasonable to destroy eternal, everlasting life and eternal happiness for a little bit of pleasure. Since it is not profitable for the reasonable and the aware, my soul has willy-nilly had to follow my reason.


T h e T h i r d S u s p i c i o u s Q u e s t i o n : ‘The worldly’ say: Do you like us? Do you approve of us? If you do like us, why are you stand-offish and have nothing to do with us? If you do not like us, that means you object to us, and we crush those who object to us.


T h e A n s w e r : Not you, if I had loved your world, I would not have withdrawn from it. I don’t like either you or your world. But I do not interfere with them. For I have different goals, different points have filled my heart; they have left no place in my heart to think of other things. Your duty is to look to the hand, not to the heart. For you seek your government and your public order. So long as the hand does not interfere, what right do you have to interfere in the heart and say, “the heart should love us too,” although you are in no way worthy of it? Yes, just as I desire and long for the spring during this winter, but I cannot will it nor attempt to bring it, so too, I long for the world to be righted and I pray for it and I want the worldly to be reformed, but I cannot will these things, because I do not have the power. I cannot attempt them in fact, because it is neither my duty, nor do I have the capacity.


F o u r t h S u s p i c i o u s Q u e s t i o n : ‘The worldly’ say: we have experienced so many calamities, we no longer have confidence in anyone. How can we be certain that given the opportunity you won’t interfere like you want to?


T h e A n s w e r : The previous points should give you confidence. In addition, since I did not interfere in your world while in my native region among my students and relatives, in the midst of those who heeded me and of exciting events, for someone who is alone in exile, with no one, a stranger, weak, powerless, turned with all his strength towards the hereafter, cut off from all social intercourse and correspondence, who has only found a few friends from far afield who are also turned to the hereafter, and who is a stranger to everyone else and whom everyone else regards as a stranger—for such a person to interfere in your fruitless and dangerous world would surely be a compounded lunacy.






This concerns five small matters.


T h e F i r s t : ‘The worldly’ ask me: Why do you yourself not practise the principles of our civilization, our style of life, and our manner of dressing? Does this mean you oppose us?


M y r e p l y : Sirs! What right do you have to propose to me the principles of your civilization? Yet as though casting me outside the laws of civilization, you have wrongfully forced me to reside in a village for five years prohibited from all social intercourse and correspondence. While you left all the exiles in the town with their friends and relations, then gave them the papers granting them an amnesty, without reason you isolated me and did not allow me to meet with anyone from my native region with one or two exceptions. That means you do not count me as a member of this nation and a citizen. How can you propose to me that I apply your civil code to myself? You have made the world into a prison for me. Such things cannot be proposed to someone in prison. You closed the door of the world on me, so I knocked on the door of the hereafter, and Divine mercy opened it to me. How can the confused customs and principles of the world be proposed to someone at the door of the hereafter? Whenever you set me free and return me to my native region and restore my rights, then you can require me to conform to your principles.


S e c o n d M a t t e r : ‘The worldly’ say: “We have an official department for instructing in the precepts of religion and truths of Islam. With what authority do you publish religious works? Since you are a convicted exile, you have no right to mix in these matters.”


T h e A n s w e r : Truth and reality cannot be restricted. How can belief and the Qur’an be restricted? You can restrict the principles and laws of your world, but the truths of belief and Qur’anic principles cannot be forced into the form of worldly dealings, being given an official guise and in return for a wage. Those mysteries which are Divine gifts, those blessings, come rather through a sincere intention and giving up the world and carnal pleasures. Moreover, that official department of yours accepted me and appointed me as a preacher while I was in my home region. I accepted the position, but rejected the salary. I have the document in my possession. With the document I can act as an imam and preacher everywhere, because my being exiled was unjust. Also, since the exiles have been returned, my old documents are still valid.


Secondly: I addressed the truths of belief which I have written directly to my own soul. I do not invite everyone. Rather, those whose spirits are needy and hearts wounded search out and find those Qur’anic remedies. Only, to secure my livelihood I had printed a treatise of mine about the resurrection of the dead before the new script was introduced. And the former governor, who was unfair to me, studied the treatise, but did nothing against it since he could find nothing in it to criticize.


T h i r d M a t t e r : Some of my friends remain apparently aloof from me because ‘the worldly’ consider me with suspicion and in order to appear favourable to ‘the worldly,’ indeed, they criticize me. But the cunning ‘worldly’ attribute their aloofness and avoiding me not to their loyalty to ‘the worldly’ but to a sort of hypocrisy and lack of conscience, and they look on those friends of mine unfavourably.


So I say this: O my friends of the hereafter! Don’t stand aloof from my being a servant of the Qur’an and run away. Because, God willing, no harm will come to you from me. Suppose some calamity is visited on you or I am oppressed, you cannot be saved by avoiding me. By doing that you will make yourselves more deserving of calamity and a blow. And what is there, that you should have these groundless fears?


F o u r t h M a t t e r : I see during this time of my exile that certain boastful people who have fallen into the swamp of politics regard me in a partisan manner, with rivalry, as though I am connected with the worldly currents like they are.


Sirs! I am in the current of belief. Before me is the current of unbelief. I have no connection with other currents. Perhaps some of those who work for a wage see themselves as excused to a degree. But to take up a position opposed to me in rivalry for no wage in the name of patriotism, and harass me, and oppress me, is a truly grievous error. For as was proved above, I have no connection at all with world politics. I have dedicated and vowed all my time and my life to the truths of belief and the Qur’an. Since it is thus, let the one who torments and harasses me in rivalry think that such treatment of his is similar to causing harm to belief in the name of atheism and unbelief.


F i f t h M a t t e r : Since this world is transitory, and since life is short, and since the truly essential duties are many, and since eternal life will be gained here, and since the world is not without an owner, and since this guest-house of the world has a most Wise and Generous director, and since neither good nor bad will remain without recompense, and since according to the verse,


On no soul does God place a burden greater than it can bear10


there is no obligation that cannot be borne, and since a safe way is preferable to a harmful way, and since worldly friends and ranks last only till the door of the grave, then surely the most fortunate is he who does not forget the hereafter for this world, and does not sacrifice the hereafter for this world, and does not destroy the life of the hereafter for worldly life, and does not waste his life on trivial things, but considers himself to be a guest and acts in accordance with the commands of the guest-house’s Owner, then opens the door of the grave in confidence and enters upon eternal happiness..11




The Addendum to the Sixteenth Letter


In His Name!


And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.


Without reason ‘the worldly’ became suspicious of a powerless stranger like myself, and imagining me to have the power of thousands of people, put me under numerous restrictions. They did not give permission for me to stay one or two nights in Bedre, a district of Barla, or on one of the mountains of Barla. I heard that they say: “Said has power equal to that of fifty thousand soldiers, we cannot therefore set him free.”


So I say: You unhappy people whose view is restricted to this world! How is it that you do not know the matters of the world, despite working for the world with all your strength, and govern it like lunatics? If it is my person you fear, it is not fifty thousand soldiers, one soldier even could do more than me. That is, he could be posted at the door of my room and tell me: “You can’t go out!”


But if it is my profession and my being herald of the Qur’an and the moral strength of belief that you fear, then you are wrong, it is not fifty thousand soldiers, you should be aware that in respect of my profession I have the strength of fifty million! For through the strength of the All-Wise Qur’an, I challenge all Europe including your irreligious people. Through the lights of belief I have published I have razed the sturdy bastions they call the physical sciences and Nature. I have cast down lower than animals their greatest irreligious philosophers. If all Europe was to gather, of which your irreligious people are a part, through God’s assistance, they could not make me recant a single matter of that way of mine. God willing, they could not defeat me....


Since the matter is thus, I do not interfere in your world, so don’t you interfere in my hereafter! If you do, if it will be of no avail.


What is determined by God cannot be turned by force;


A flame that if lit by God, cannot be extinguished by puffing.


‘The worldly’ are exceptionally and excessively suspicious of me; quite simply, they are frightened of me. Imagining things non-existent in me, which even if they were existent would not constitute a political crime and could not be the cause of accusation, like being a shaykh, or of significant rank or family, or being a tribal leader, and influential, and having numerous followers, or meeting with people from my native region, or being connected with the affairs of the world, or even entering politics, or even the opposition; imagining these things in me, they have been carried away by groundless fears. At a time even that they are discussing pardoning those in prison and outside, that is, those that according to them cannot be pardoned, they have quite simply barred me from everything. A bad and ephemeral person wrote the following good and enduring words:


If tyranny has cannon, shot, and forts,


Right has an untwistable arm, a constant face.


And I say:


If the worldly have rule, power, and strength,


Through the Qur’an’s effulgence, its servant


Has unfaltering knowledge, an unsilenceable voice;


He has an unerring heart, an unquenchable light.


Many friends, as well as a military commander under whose surveillance I was, repeatedly asked: “Why don’t you apply for the release papers and put forward a petition?”


T h e A n s w e r : I do not apply and I cannot apply for five or six reasons:


The First: I did not interfere in ‘the worldly’s’ world so that I should have been convicted and apply to them. I was convicted by Divine Determining; my faults are before it, and I apply to it.


The Second: I believe and have certain knowledge that this world is a swiftly changing guest-house. Therefore, it is not the true homeland and everywhere is the same. Since I am not going to remain permanently in my homeland, it is pointless to struggle for it; it is not worth going there. Since everywhere is a guest-house, if the mercy of the guest-house’s Owner befriends one, everyone is a friend and everywhere familiar. Whereas if it does not befriend one, everywhere is a load on the heart and everyone hostile.


The Third: Application is within the framework of the law. But the way I have been treated these six years has been arbitrary and outside the law. The Exiles’ Law was not applied to me. They looked on me as though I had been stripped of all the rights of civilization and even of all worldly rights. To apply in the name of the law to those whose dealings with me have been thus outside the law is meaningless.


The Fourth: This year, the local official applied in my name for me to stay for a few days in the village of Bedre, which is like a district of Barla, for a change of air. How can those who reject such an unimportant need of mine be applied to? If they are applied to, it would be a futile and degrading abasement.


The Fifth: To claim a right before those who claim a wrong to be right, and to apply to them, is a wrong. It is disrespectful towards right. I do not want to perpetrate such a wrong and show disrespect for right. And that is that.


The Sixth: The distress and difficulty ‘the worldly’ have caused me has not been due to politics, because they know I do not meddle in politics and flee from it. Rather, knowingly or unknowingly, they torment me on account of aggressive atheism because I am bound to religion. In which case, to apply to them has the meaning of regretting religion and flattering the cause of aggressive atheism.


Moreover, Divine Determining, which is just, would punish me through their tyrannical hand on my applying to them and having recourse to them, for they oppress me because of my being bound to religion. As for Divine Determining, from time to time it represses me due to my hypocrisy before ‘the worldly,’ because of my deficiency in religion and in sincerity. Since this is so, for the time being I cannot be saved from this distress. If I apply to the worldly, Divine Determining would say: “Hypocrite! Pay the penalty for applying!” And if I do not apply, ‘the worldly’ say: “You don’t recognize us, go on suffering difficulties!”


The Seventh Reason: It is well-known that an official’s duty is to give harmful individuals no opportunity to cause harm and to assist those who are beneficial. Whereas the official who took me into custody approached me, an elderly guest at the door of the grave, when I was expounding a subtle aspect of belief contained in There is no god but God as though I was perpetrating some misdemeanour, although he had not been to me for a long time previously. He caused the sincere unfortunate who was listening to be deprived, and me to be angry. There were certain people here, and he attached no importance to them. Then when they acted discourteously in a way that would poison the life of the village, he started to be gracious and appreciative towards them.


Furthermore, it is well-known that someone in prison who has committed a hundred crimes can meet with the person who supervises him whether the official be of high or low rank. But in this last year, although two important people in the national government charged with supervising me have passed by my house several times, they have absolutely neither met with me nor asked after my condition. At first I supposed that they did not come near to me due to enmity, then it became clear that it was due to their fearful suspicions; they were fleeing from me as though as I was going to gobble them up. Thus, to recognize a government whose members and officials are like those men and have recourse to it and apply to it, is not sensible, but a futile abasement. If it had been the Old Said, he would have said, like ‘Antara:


The very water of life becomes Hell through abasement,


Whereas Hell with dignity becomes a place of pride.


The Old Said no longer exists, and the New Said considers it meaningless to talk with ‘the worldly.’ Let their world be the end of them! They can do what they like. He is silent, saying, we shall be judged together with them at the Last Judgement.


The Eighth Reason for my not applying: According to the rule, “The result of illicit love is merciless torment,” Divine Determining, which is just, torments me through the tyrannous hand of ‘the worldly,’ because I incline towards them, since they are not worthy of it. And saying, I deserve this torment, I am silent. For in the Great War I fought and strove as a Commander of a volunteer regiment. Applauded by the Commander-in-Chief of the army and Enver Pa_a, I sacrificed my valuable students and friends. I was wounded and taken prisoner. Returning from captivity, I cast myself into danger through works like The Seven Steps, aiming them at the heads of the British, who had occupied Istanbul. I assisted those who hold me without reason in this torment and captivity. As for them, they punish me in this way for that help. Those friends here cause me in three months the hardship and distress I suffered in three years as a prisoner-of-war in Russia. And the Russians did not prevent me from giving religious instruction, although they regarded me as a Kurdish Militia Commander, a cruel man who had slaughtered Cossacks and prisoners. I used to instruct the great majority of my ninety fellow officer prisoners. One time, the Russian commander came and listened. Because he did not know Turkish, he thought it was political instruction, and put a stop to it. Then later he gave permission. Also, in the same barracks, we made a room into a mosque, and I used to lead the prayers. They did not interfere at all. They did not prevent me from mixing, or from communicating, with the others. Whereas my friends here, my fellow citizens and co-religionists and those for whose benefits in the form of religious belief I have struggled, have held me in a tortuous captivity not for three years, but for six, for absolutely no reason and although they know I have severed all my relations with the world. They have prevented me mixing with others. They have prevented me from giving religious instruction, despite my having a certificate, and even from giving private instruction in my room. They have prevented me from communicating with others. They have even barred me from the mosque which I repaired and where I acted as prayer-leader for four years, although I had the necessary certificate. And now, to deprive me of the merit of performing the prayers in congregation, they do not accept me as prayer-leader even for three private individuals, my permanent congregation and brothers of the hereafter.


Furthermore, if, although I do not want it, someone is to call me good, the official who holds me in surveillance is jealous and angry. Thinking he will destroy my influence, he entirely unscrupulously takes precautions, and pesters me in order to curry favour with his superiors.


To whom can someone in such a position have recourse other than God Almighty? If the judge is also the claimant, of course he cannot complain to him. Come on, you say! What can we say to this? You say what you like, I say this: there are many dissemblers among these friends of mine. A dissembler is worse than an unbeliever. For that reason they make me suffer what the infidel Russian did not make me suffer.


And so, you unfortunates, what have I done to you and what I am doing? I am trying to save your belief and am serving your eternal happiness! It means that my service is not sincere and purely for God’s sake so that it has the reverse effect. In return, you torment me at every opportunity. For sure, we shall meet at the Last Judgement. I say:


God is enough for us and the best of protectors.12 * The best of lords and the best of helpers.13


The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One!


S a i d N u r s i






1. Qur’an, 3:173.


2. Qur’an, 20:44.


3. Qur’an, 40:44.


4. Qur’an, 93:11.


5. 36.5 lbs. (Tr.)


6. It lasted a year.


7. About 2.8 lbs. or 1,300 grammes. (Tr.)


8. About 2.8 lbs. (Tr.)


9. Qur’an, 12:53.


10. Qur’an, 2:286.


11. The reason for these ‘sinces’ is this: I take no notice of the wrongs and tyranny perpetrated against my person and give them no importance. I say, “They are not worth worrying about,” and I do not interfere in the world.


12. Qur’an, 3:173.


13. Qur’an, 8:40.



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