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And from Him do we seek help


The First Letter




In His Name, be He glorified!


And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.




[This consists of the brief answers to four questions]






Is Hazrat Khidr alive? If he is alive, why do some important religious scholars not accept this?


T h e A n s w e r : He is alive, but there are five degrees of life. He is at the second degree. It is because of this that some religious scholars have been doubtful about it.


The First Level of Life is that of our life, which is very restricted.


The Second Level of Life is that of the lives of Khidr and Ilyas (May Allah grant them peace), which is free to an extent. That is to say, they can be present in numerous places at the same time. They are not permanently restricted by the requirements of humanity like us. They can eat and drink like us when they want to, but are not compelled to like us. The saints are those who uncover and witness the realities of creation, and the reports of their adventures with Khidr are unanimous and elucidate and prove this level of life. There is even one degree of sainthood which is called ‘the degree of Khidr.’ A saint who reaches this degree receives instruction from Khidr and meets with him. But sometimes the one at that degree is mistakenly thought to be Khidr himself.


The Third Level of Life is that of Idris and Jesus (May Allah grant them peace) which, being removed from the requirements of humanity, enters an angelic life and acquires a luminous fineness. Quite simply, Idris and Jesus are present in the heavens with their earthly bodies, which have the subtlety of bodies from the World of Similitudes and the luminosity of star-like bodies. The Hadith the meaning of which is, “At the end of time, Jesus (Upon whom be peace) will come and will act in accordance with the Shari’a of Muhammed (PBUH),” indicates that at the end of time the religion of Christianity will be purified and divest itself of superstition in the face of the current of unbelief and atheism born of Naturalist philosophy, and will be transformed into Islam. At this point, just as the collective personality of Christianity will kill the fearsome collective personality of irreligion with the sword of heavenly Revelation, so too, representing the collective personality of Christianity, Jesus (Upon whom be peace) will kill the Dajjal, who represents the collective personality of irreligion, that is, he will kill atheistic thought.


The Fourth Level of Life is that of the martyrs. According to the Qur’an, the martyrs have a level of life higher than that of the other dead in their graves. Since the martyrs sacrificed their worldly lives in the way of truth, in His perfect munificence, Almighty Allah bestows on them in the Intermediate Realm a life resembling earthly life, but without the sorrow and hardship. They do not know themselves to be dead, thinking only that they have gone to a better world. They enjoy themselves in perfect happiness and do not suffer the pains of separation that accompany death. For sure the spirits of the dead are immortal, but they know themselves to be dead. The happiness and pleasure they experience in the Intermediate World are not equal to that of the martyrs. Like if two men in their dreams enter a beautiful palace resembling Paradise; one knows that he is dreaming and the pleasure and enjoyment he receives are deficient. He thinks: “If I wake up, all this enjoyment will disappear.” While the other man does not know he is dreaming, and he experiences true happiness and pleasure.


The way the martyrs and other dead benefit from life in the Intermediate Realm is thus different. It has been established by innumerable incidents and narrations and it is certain that the martyrs manifest life in that way and think that they are alive. Indeed, this level of life has been illuminated and proved on repeated occasions by many occurrences like Hamza (May Allah be pleased with him) - the lord of the martyrs - protecting those that have recourse to him and performing and making performed matters in this world. I myself, even, had a nephew and student called Ubeyd. He was killed at my side and in my place and became a martyr. Then, when I was being held as a prisoner-of-war at a place three months’ distance away, I entered his grave in a true dream, which was in the form of a dwelling-place under the earth, although I did not know where he was buried. I saw him living the level of life of martyrs. He evidently thought that I was dead, and said that he had wept much for me. He thought that he was alive, but having retreated from the Russian invasion, had made himself a good home under the ground. Thus, through a number of conditions and indications, this unimportant dream afforded the conviction as certain as witnessing it concerning the above-mentioned truth.


The Fifth Level of Life is that of the life of the spirits of the dead in their graves. Yes, death is a change of residence, the liberation of the spirit, a discharge from duties; it is not annihilation, non-existence, and a going to nothingness. Many evidences like innumerable occurrences of the spirits of the saints assuming forms and appearing to those who uncover the realities, and the other dead having relations with us while awake or sleeping and their telling us of things that are conformable with reality, - evidences like these illuminate and prove this level of life. In fact, the Twenty-Ninth Word about the immortality of man’s spirit demonstrates this level of life with incontrovertible proofs.




Verses like the following in the All-Wise Qur’an, the Criterion of Truth and Falsehood,


Who creates death and life that He may try you, which of you is the best in conduct,


make it understood that “like life, death too is created, and it too is bounty.” Whereas apparently death is dissolution, non-existence, decay, the extinction of life, the annihilator of pleasures; how can it be created and a bounty?


T h e A n s w e r : As was stated at the end of the answer to the First Question, death is a discharge from the duties of life; it is a rest, a change of residence, a change of existence; it is an invitation to an eternal life, a beginning, the introduction to an immortal life. Just as life comes into the world is through a creation and a determining, so too departure from the world is through a creation and determining, through a wise and purposeful direction. For the death of plant life, the simplest level of life, shows that it is a more orderly work of art than life. For although the death of fruits, seeds, and grains appear to occur through decaying, rotting, and dissolution, their death is in fact a kneading which comprises an exceedingly well-ordered chemical reaction and well-balanced combining of elements and wise formation of particles; this unseen, well-ordered and wise death appears through the life of the new shoots. That is to say, the death of the seed is the start of life of the shoot; indeed, since it is like life itself, this death is created and well-ordered as much as is life.


Moreover, since the death of the fruits of living beings and animals in the human stomach is the beginning of their rising to the level of human life, it may be said “such a death is more orderly and created than their own life.”


Thus, if the death of plant life, the lowest level of life, is thus created, wise, and ordered, so also must be the death that befalls human life, the most elevated level of life. And like a seed sown in the ground becomes a tree in the world of the air, so too a man who is laid in the earth will surely produce the shoots of an everlasting life in the Intermediate Realm.


As for the aspects of death that are bounties, we shall point out tour of them.


The First: It is a great bounty because it is a being freed from the duties and obligations of life, which have become burdensome, and because it is a door through which to join and be united with the ninety-nine out of a hundred of one’s friends who are already in the Intermediate Realm.


The Second: It is a release from the narrow, irksome, turbulent, and agitated prison of this world, and, manifesting an expansive, joyful, troublefree immortal life, it is to enter the sphere of mercy of the Eternally Beloved One.


The Third: There are numerous factors like old age which make the conditions of life arduous and show death to be a bounty far superior to life. For example, if together with your very elderly parents who cause you much distress were now in front of you your grandfather's grandfathers in all their pitiful state, you would understand what a calamity is life, and what a bounty, death. Also for example, it is understood how difficult are the lives in the conditions of winter of the beautiful flying insects, the lovers of the beautiful flowers, ... and what mercy are their deaths.


The Fourth: Just as sleep is a comfort, a mercy, a rest, particularly for those afflicted by disaster and the wounded and the sick, so too is death, the elder brother of sleep, a pure bounty and mercy for those struck by disaster and suffering tribulations which drive them to suicide. However, as is proved decisively in many of the Words, for the people of misguidance, like life, death too is pure torment, pure affliction, but it is outside the discussion here.




Where is Hell?


T h e A n s w e r:


Say: the knowledge is with Allah alone * None knows the Unseen save Allah.


According to some narrations, Hell is beneath the earth. As we have explained in other places, in its annual orbit, the globe of the earth traces a circle around an area that in the future will the place of the Great Gathering and Last Judgement. It means Hell is beneath the area of its orbit. It is invisible and unperceptible because it consists of veiled and lightless fire. In the vast distance travelled by the earth are many creatures that are invisible because they are without light. Like the moon loses its existence when its light withdraws, we are also unable to see numerous lightless globes and creatures which are in front of our eyes.


There are two Hells, the Lesser and the Greater. In the future, the Lesser will be transformed into the Greater and is like its seed; in the future it will become one of its habitations. The Lesser Hell is under the earth, that is, at the earth’s centre. It is the inside and centre of the globe. It is known in geology that in digging downwards, the heat for the most part increases one degree every thirty-three metres. That means that since half the diametre of the earth is around six thousand kilometres, the fire at the centre is at a temperature of around two hundred thousand degrees, that is, two hundred times hotter than fire at the circumference; this is in agreement with what is related by Hadiths. This Lesser Hell performs many of the functions of the Greater Hell in this world and Intermediate Realm, and this is indicated in Hadiths. Just as in the World of the Hereafter, the earth will pour its inhabitants into the arena of the resurrection within its annual orbit, so too at the Divine command will it hand over the Lesser Hell within it to the Greater Hell.


Some of the Mu’tazilite imams said that “Hell will be created later” but this is mistaken and foolish, and arises from Hell not having completely opened up at the present time and developed into a form entirely appropriate to its inhabitants. In order to see with our worldly eyes the dwelling places of the World of the Hereafter within the veil of the Unseen and to demonstrate them, either the universe has to be shrunk to the size of two provinces, or our eyes have to he enlarged to the size of stars, so that we can see and specify their places. The knowledge is with Allah, the dwelling-places of the Hereafter are not visible to our worldly eyes, but as indicated by certain narrations, the Hell of the Hereafter is connected with our world. In a Hadith it is said of the intense heat of summer, “It gives an inkling of Hell.” That is to say, that Greater Hell is not visible to the tiny and dim eyes of the minds of this world. However, we may look with the light of the Divine Name of All-Wise, as follows:


The Greater Hell beneath the earth's annual orbit has as though made the Lesser Hell at the earth's centre its deputy and made it perform some of its functions. The possessions of the All-Powerful One of Glory are truly extensive; wherever Divine wisdom pointed out, He situated the Greater Hell there. Yes, an All-Powerful One of Glory, an All-Wise One of Perfection Who is owner of the command of ‘Be!’ and it is has tied the moon to the earth before and eyes in perfect wisdom and order, and with vast power and perfect order tied the earth to the sun, and has made the sun. travel together with its planets with a speed close to that of the annual rotation of the earth, and with the majesty of His Dominicality, according to one possibility, made it travel towards the sun of suns, and like a feet decked out with electric lights has made the stars luminous witnesses to the sovereignty of His Dominicality. It is not far from the perfect wisdom, tremendous power, and sovereignty of Dominicality of one thus All-Glorious to make the Greater Hell like the boiler of an electric light factory and with it set fire to the stars of the heavens which look to the Hereafter, and give them heat and power. That is, give light to the stars from Paradise, the world of light, and send them fire and heat from Hell, and at the same time, make part of that Hell a habitation and place of imprisonment for those who are to be tormented. Furthermore, He is an All-Wise Creator Who conceals a tree as large as a mountain in a seed the size of a finger-nail. It is surely not far then from the power and wisdom of such an All-Glorious One to conceal the Greater Hell in the seed of the Lesser Hell in the heart of the globe of the earth.


I n S h o r t : Paradise and Hell are the two fruits of a branch of the tree of creation which stretches out towards eternity. The fruits’ place is at the branch’s tip. And they are the two results of the chain of the universe; and the places of the results are the two sides of the chain. The base and heavy are on its lower side, the luminous and elevated on its upper side. They are also the two stores of this flood of events and the immaterial produce of the earth. And the place of a store is according to the variety of the produce, the bad beneath, the good above. They are also the two pools of the flood of beings which flows in waves towards eternity. As for the pool's place, it is where the flood stops and gathers. That is, the obscene and filthy below, the good and the pure above. They are also the two places of manifestation, the one of beneficence and mercy, the other of wrath and tremendousness. Places of manifestation may he anywhere; the All-Merciful One of Beauty, the All-Compelling One of Glory, establishes His places of manifestation where He wishes.


As for the existence of Paradise and Hell, they have been proved most decisively in the Tenth, Twenty-Eighth, and Twenty-Ninth Words. Here, we only say this: the existence of the fruit is as definite and certain as that of the branch; the result as the chain; the store as the produce; the pool as the river; and the places of manifestation as definite and certain as the existence of mercy and wrath.




Like metaphorical love for objects of love can be transformed into true love, can the metaphorical love that most people have for this world also be transformed into true love ?


T h e A n s w e r : Yes, if a lover with metaphorical love for the transitory face of the world sees the ugliness of the decline and transience on that face and turns away from it. If he searches for an immortal beloved and is successful in seeing the world’s other two most beautiful faces that of mirror to the Divine Names and the tillage of the Hereafter, his illicit metaphorical love then starts to be transformed into true love. But on the one condition that he does not confuse his own fleeting and unstable world which is bound to his life with the outside world. If like the people of misguidance and heedlessness he forgets himself, plunges into the outside world, and supposing the general world to be his private world becomes the lover of it, he will fall into the swamp of Nature and drown. Unless, extraordinarily, a hand of favour saves him. Consider the following comparison which will illuminate this truth.


For example, if on the four walls of this finely decorated room are four full-length mirrors belonging to the four of us, then there would be five rooms. One would be actual and general, and four, similitudes and personal. Each of us would be able to change the shape, form, and colour of his personal room by means of his mirror. Should we paint it red, it would appear red, should we paint it green, it would appear green. Likewise, we could give it numerous states by adjusting the mirror; we could make it ugly, or beautiful, give it different forms. But we could not easily adjust and change the outer and general room. While in reality the general and personal rooms are the same, in practice they are different. You can destroy your own room with one finger, but you could not make one stone of the other stir.


Thus, this world is a decorated house. The life of each of us is a full-length mirror. We each of us have a world from this world, but its support, centre, and door is our life. Indeed, that personal world of ours is a page. Our life is a pen; many things that are written with it pass to the page of our actions. If we have loved our world, later we have seen that since it is constructed on our life, we have perceived and understood that it is fleeting, transitory, and unstable like our life. Our love for it turns towards the beautiful impresses of the Divine Names to which our personal world is the mirror and which it represents. Moreover, if we are aware that that personal world of ours is a temporary seed-bed of the Hereafter and Paradise, and if we direct our feelings for it like intense desire, love, and greed, towards the benefits of the Hereafter, which are its results, fruits, and shoots, then that metaphorical love is transformed into true love. Otherwise, manifesting the meaning of the verse,


Those who forget Allah; and he made them, forget their own souls.


Such are the. rebellious transgressors,


a person will forget himself, not think of life’s fleeting nature, suppose his personal, unstable world to be constant like the general world, and imagine himself to be undying; he will fix himself on the world and embrace it with intense emotions; he will drown in it and depart. Such love will be boundless torment and tribulation for him. For an orphan-like compassion, a despairing softness of heart will be born of that love. He will pity all living beings. Indeed, he will feel sympathy for all beautiful creatures which suffer decline, and the pain of separation, but he will be able to do nothing, he will suffer in absolute despair.


However, the first man, who is saved from heedlessness, finds an elevated antidote for the pain of that intense compassion. For in the death and decline of all the living beings he pities, he sees the mirrors of their spirits in which are depicted the perpetual manifestations of the enduring Names of an Ever-Enduring One to be immortal; his compassion is transformed into joy. He also sees behind all beautiful creatures which are subject to death and transience, an impress a making beautiful, an art, adornment, bestowal, and illuminating which are permanent and which make perceived a transcendent beauty, a sacred loveliness. He sees the death and transience to be renewal for the purpose of increasing the beauty, refreshing the pleasure, and exhibiting the art, and this augments his pleasure, his ardour, his wonder.




The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One!


Said Nursi

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