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The Twenty - Eighth Flash




[This comprises some of the short pieces I wrote as consolation for my brothers who were (in the ward) opposite me in Eskisehir 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 Rustu, 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 Rustu:


"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:


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 whom petition and those whom they petition.


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 botherin 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-creatures that die every day in their 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 carrion-eating birds, and wild animals to be like cleansing and public health officials which collect the corpses of wild animals and birds that die every day in their millions, cleanse the face of the earth of those putrid remains, and save other animate beings from such sad and touching sights. Some, like eagles for example, through a Divine impulse, wonderfully perceive the location of a corpse from a distance of five or six hours, though hidden and distant, and go and remove it. If these health officals of the land were not extremely efftcient and orderly in carrying out their official duties, the face of the earth would take on a form fit to make all weep.


The licit food of carniverous animals is the flesh of dead animals. The flesh of living animals is unlawful for them. If they eat it, they receive punishment. The Hadith which states that: "Retaliation shall be made for the hornless sheep on the horned on Resurrection Day" points out that although their bodies perish, among animals whose spirits are immortal there is reward and punishment in a manner appropriate for them in an eternal realm. As a consequence of this it may be said that the flesh of live animals is unlawful for wild animals.


Furthermore, ants are employed as cleansing officials to collect the corpses of tiny creatures and small particles and fragments of bounty. And they are given duties as public health officals to preserve tiny particles of Divine bounty from waste, being trodden underfoot, contempt and futility, and to gather up the corpses of other small creatures.


And in just the same way, flies are charged with duties of cleaning away poisonous substances and microbes which breed disease and are invisible to the human eye. They do not transmit microbes, on the contrary, through sucking up and imbibing harmful microbes they destroy them and cause them to be transformed into a different state; they prevent the spread of many contagious diseases. A sign that they are both health workers and cleansing officials and chemists and that they exhibit extensive wisdom is the fact that they are extremely numerous. For valuable and beneficial things are multiplied.


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.


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 insects 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! "'


* * *


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


Verily, when He intends a thing, His command is "Be!" and it is.


As this verse indicates, creation is through a command. The treasuries of Divine Power are in the Kaf. and Nun. 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.


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 semiimmaterial; 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


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 oa 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.


Said Nursi


* * *


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.


[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 insuffcient 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 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.


Fifth Word : 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


The knowledge is with God alone God. * None knows the Unseen save God.


* * *


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.


[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:


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.


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 li ht 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, 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 brothers 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, 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.


* * *


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. This verse comprises the same point we explained in the discussion of the verse, And We sent down iron; 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, 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, 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.


* * *


Pieces Written in Eskisehir 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,


Said Nursi


* * *




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 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, Iet 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.




* * *




A Short Piece Written in Eskisehir 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 fnd 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 sa to one another:


"If I had not done such-and-such I would not have been arrested."




Said Nursi


* * *




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 con idence 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 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.


Said Nursi


* * *




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 Huseyin 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 beina 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.


Said Nursi


* * *




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 re resented to ether 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.








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.


Said Nursi






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.




Said Nursi






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.


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 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 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.


Said Nursi










[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 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 affsicted 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 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.




Said Nursi


* * *


[This piece is very valuable. Everyone may benefit from it as far as the Second Point.]


In connection with certain unpleasant situations which come about in Eskisehir Prison, not through bad morality but because of the distress, this is about 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 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.




* * *






[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). &127;


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 selfevident 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 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 begotten


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."


Said Nursi




* * *


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Or while they slept for their afternoon rest.


This was written in connection with Re'fet being curious and asking about the word `qa'ilun-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.




Said Nursi


* * *


"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 a11 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 Muhammed (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 Prophet 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,1 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 yot&127; 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 Muhammed (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


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 a 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.




Said Nursi




* * *


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, 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 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. * 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.


Said Nursi




* * *


The Answer to a Question


I do not have the time to weigh up the ideas of Mustafa Sabri and those of Musa Bekuf. 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 Bekuf, 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'1-A'la al- Ma'arri to be superior to authoritative scholars, and favouring dispropor- tionately 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.




Said Nursi


* * *


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.


Said Nursi




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


This concerns one point of the verse ,


The (human) soul is certainly prone to evil,


and the Hadith the meaning of which is, "Your worst enemy is your soul."


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.


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.




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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.


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.


Said Nursi




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A Meaningful and Subtle `Coincidence'


The `coincidence' of Article 163, 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 medrese 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 l9th 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.




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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. And We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles to drive away the evil ones. 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 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.


The Answer:


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 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 macro-anthropos, 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 Muhammed (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 Muhammed (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 Muhammed (PBUH), and 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 Muhammed (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 Muhammed (PBUHj 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 Muhammed (PBUH), and that it is in no way possible to oppose them or draw close to them with subterfuge or falsehood.


Said Nursi


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