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The Sixteenth Flash


In His Name, be He glorified!


And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.






Peace be upon you, and God’s mercy and blessings!


My Dear and Loyal Brothers Hoja Sabri, Hâfiz Ali, Mes’ud, the Mustafa’s, Husrev, Re’fet, Bekir Bey, Rüstü, the Lütfi’s, Hâfiz Ahmed, Shaykh Mustafa, and the others! It occurred to my heart to explain to you in concise informative fashion four small Matters which have been the subject of curiosity and questions.




Certain of our brothers like Çaprazzâde Abdullah Efendi had heard related from those who divine the realities that this last Ramadan a relief from difficulties, a victory, would occur for the Sunnis, whereas it did not occur. Why do people of sainthood and illumination such as that make predictions that are contrary to reality? They asked me, and a summary of the reply I gave them, with which I was inspired, is this:


It is said in a Hadith: “Sometimes a calamity is visited on a person, but it is confronted with alms-giving, and is repelled.”1 The underlying meaning of this Hadith shows that while appointed events are going to come to pass through certain conditions, they do not occur. That is to say, the appointed events of which the people of illumination are aware are not absolute, but restricted by certain conditions; on the conditions not being present, the event does not occur. However the event, like the appointed hour of death, which is suspended, is written and determined in the Tablet of Appearance and Dissolution, which is a sort of notebook of the Pre-Eternal Tablet. It is only extremely rarely that illuminations penetrate as far as the Pre-Eternal Tablet; mostly they cannot rise that far.


As a consequence of this, predictions made as a result of interpretations or illuminations this last Ramadan and Feast of Sacrifices or at other times that do not occur because the conditions on which they were dependent were not fulfilled, do not give the lie to those who told of them. For they were determined, but did not come about because the conditions were not fulfilled.


Yes, the sincere prayers of the majority of the Sunnis for the abrogating of innovations in the month of Ramadan formed a condition and important reason. But since innovations had entered the mosques in Ramadan, they formed an obstacle to the acceptance of the supplications, and the relief did not arrive. Just as in accordance with the above Hadith, alms-giving repels calamities, the sincere supplications of the majority attract a general release from troubles. Since the power of attraction did not come into being, the victory also was not given.






The last two months there has been a lively political situation in the face of which some attempt should have been made to alleviate conditions both for myself and the brothers with whom I am connected. While there was a strong possibility that this could have been achieved, I attached no importance to the situation, and on the contrary, had an idea in support of ‘the worldly’ who oppress me. A number of people were astonished at this. They said: “What do you think about the policies followed by those at the head of these innovators and in part dissembling people who torment you, so that you do nothing to them?” A summary of my reply is as follows:


The greatest danger facing the people of Islam at this time is their hearts being corrupted and belief harmed through the misguidance that arises from science and philosophy. The sole solution for this is light; it is to show light so that their hearts can be reformed and their belief, saved. If one acts with the club of politics and prevails over them, the unbelievers descend to the degree of dissemblers. And dissemblers are worse than unbelievers. That is to say, the club cannot heal the heart at this time, for then unbelief enters the heart and is concealed, and is transformed into dissembling. And at this time, a powerless person like myself cannot employ both of them—the club and the light. For this reason I am compelled to embrace the light with all my strength, and cannot consider the club of politics whatever form it is in. Whatever physical jihad demands, we are not charged with that duty at the moment. Yes, in accordance with a person’s way, a club is necessary to form a barrier against the assaults of the unbelievers or apostates. But we only have two hands. Even if we had a hundred hands, they would be sufficient only for the light. We do not have any other hands with which to hold the club!





Why do you violently oppose war, although, with foreign forces like the British and Italians interfering in the government recently, it would have excited Islamic zeal—the true point of support and source of moral strength of this country’s government—and been a means to an extent of reviving the marks of Islam and repulsing innovations? Why have you offered prayers for its being settled by peaceful means, and come out fervently in support of the innovators’ government? Is this not indirect support of innovations?


T h e A n s w e r : We want relief, release, happiness, and victory—but not with the sword of the unbelievers. Let the unbelievers’ swords be the end of them! We are not in need of any advantage proceeding from their swords. In fact it is those obstinate Europeans who have set the dissemblers to pester the people of belief, and have raised the atheists.


As for the calamity of war, it would cause great harm to our service of the Qur’an. Since the majority of our most valuable, self-sacrificing brothers are under the age of forty-five, they would be forced because of war to leave their sacred service of the Qur’an and enroll in the army. If I had the money, I would gladly pay the thousand liras necessary to release each of such valuable brothers from military service. With hundreds of my valuable brothers leaving the Qur’anic service of the Risale-i Nur and laying hands on the club of physical jihad, I feel a loss in myself of a hundred thousand liras. These two years of Zekâi’s military service, even, have caused perhaps a thousand liras of his immaterial profit to be lost. Anyway... Like the One Powerful Over All Things sweeps and cleans in a minute the atmosphere filled with clouds and shows the shining sun in clear skies, so He may also dispel these black and merciless clouds and show the truths of the Shari’a like the sun, and give them without expense or trouble. We await it from His mercy that He will not sell them to us expensively. May He give intelligence to the heads of those at the top, and belief to their hearts; that would be enough. Then matters would put themselves to rights.






They ask: “Since what you hold in your hand is light, not a club, and light cannot be objected to, nor fled from, nor can harm come from showing it, why do you advise caution to your friends, and prevent them showing many light-filled parts of the Risale-i Nur to people?”


A brief reply to the question is this: the heads of most of those at the top are drunk and they cannot read them. And even if they do read them, they cannot understand them; they give them the wrong meaning, and interfere. In order that they do not interfere, they should not be shown them until they come to their senses. There are also many unscrupulous people who out of spite or ambition or fear, deny the light or close their eyes to it. Therefore, I advise my brothers to be cautious and not to give the truths to those who are unfit, and not to do things which excite the suspicions of ‘the worldly.’




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Today I received a letter from Re’fet Bey. In connection with his question about the Prophet’s (PBUH) beard, I say this:


It is established by Hadiths that the number of hairs from the blessed beard of the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) was limited. Despite their being few in number, like thirty, forty, fifty or sixty, the fact that there are hairs from the blessed beard in thousands of places caused me much thought at one time. At that time it occurred to me that what is known at his blessed beard consists not only of its hairs, but the Companions, who neglected nothing, preserved the hair of his blessed head when he cut it. His luminous, blessed hair, which would be preserved for ever, numbered thousands and may be equal to what is now extant.


I also wondered at that time whether or not it was established with sound documentary evidence that the hair found in all mosques was the Prophet’s (PBUH) hair so that it was acceptable to visit it. It occurred to me suddenly that the hair was the cause of visits, and of uttering benedictions for the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and venerating and loving him. Since it was the cause, the thing’s essential nature was not considered, but its nature as a means. Therefore, even if the hair was not truly from the Prophet’s blessed beard, since it was considered to be because of its appearance, and performed the function of being a means of veneration, regard, and benedictions, it was not necessary to specify and authenticate it. So long as there was no definite evidence to the contrary, that was sufficient. For generally held opinions and the acceptance of the Islamic Community counts as a sort of proof.


If some of the pious object to such matters on grounds of fear of God (taqwa), or caution, or resolution, they do so in particular cases. And if they say it is an innovation, it is included among the type, ‘commendable innovations,’ because it is the means of reciting benedictions for the Prophet (PBUH). Re’fet Bey said in his letter: “This matter has been the cause of argument among the brothers.” I advise my brothers that they do not argue in such a way that will cause differences and conflict; they should grow accustomed to discussing things as an exchange of ideas, without disputing.


* * *


In His Name, be He glorified!


And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.




Peace be upon you and God’s mercy and blessings.


My Dear and Loyal Brothers from Senirkent, Ibrahim, Tükrü, Hâfiz Bekir, Hâfiz Hüseyin, Hâfiz Receb Efendi!


The atheists have for a long time objected to the three matters you sent with Hâfiz Tevfik.




According to the explicit meaning of the verse,


Until when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water,


he saw the sun setting in a hot, mud spring.




Where is the barrier of Dhu’l-Qarnayn?




This is about Jesus (UWP) coming at the end of time and killing the Dajjal.


The answers to these questions are lengthy, so indicating them briefly, we say this: since the verses of the Qur’an express matters in accordance with the styles of Arabic, in conformity with outward appearances, in a way everyone will understand, they frequently explain things in the form of metaphors, allegories, and comparisons. So to consider the verse, set in a spring of murky water: Dhu’l-Qarnayn saw the sun setting in the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, which appeared like a boiling, muddy spring, or in the fiery, smoking crater of a volcano. That is, in the outward view, the Atlantic appeared to Dhu’l-Qarnayn in the distance as the large pool of a spring surrounded by a swamp which in the intense heat of summer was steaming and vaporizing; he saw the sun’s apparent setting in a part of it. Or he saw the sun, the eye of the skies, being hidden in a new, fiery crater at the summit of a volcano, which was spewing out rocks, earth, and lava.


Yes, the All-Wise Qur’an’s miraculously eloquent expression teaches many matters with this sentence. Firstly, by explaining that Dhu’l-Qarnayn’s journey to the west coincided with the intense heat of summer, the area of a swamp, the time of the setting of the sun, and the time of a volcanic eruption, it alludes to many instructive matters, like the complete conquest of Africa.


It is well-known that the sun’s motion is apparent, indicating the hidden movement of the earth and giving news of it. What it intended is not the actual setting of the sun. Also the spring is a metaphor. From the distance a large sea appears like a small pool. The likening of a sea appearing beyond swamps, and mists and vapours rising from it due to the heat, to a muddy spring, together with word ‘ayn, which in Arabic means both spring, and sun, and eye, is most meaningful and apt according to the mysteries of eloquence. It appears like that to Dhu’l-Qarnayn because of the distance. So too, coming from the Sublime Throne and commanding the heavenly bodies, the heavenly address of the Qur’an states that the subjugated sun, which performs the duty of a lamp in this guest-house of the Most Merciful One, is hidden in a dominical spring like the Atlantic Ocean, and this is fitting for the elevatedness and greatness of the heavenly address; through its miraculous style it shows the sea to be a hot spring and steaming eye. And that is how is appears to heavenly eyes.


I n S h o r t : Terming the Atlantic Ocean a muddy spring indicates that Dhu’l-Qarnayn saw that huge ocean as a spring due to the distance. But because the Qur’an sees everything from close to, it did not see what Dhu’l-Qarnayn saw, which was a sort of illusion. Indeed, since the Qur’an comes from the heavens and looks to them, it sees the earth sometimes as an arena, sometimes as a palace, sometimes as a cradle, and sometimes as a page. Thus, its calling the vast misty, vaporous Atlantic Ocean a spring shows its great elevatedness.




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Where is the barrier of Dhu’l-Qarnayn? Who were Gog and Magog?


T h e A n s w e r : Long ago I wrote a treatise about this question. The atheists were silenced by it at that time. I do not have it with me now, furthermore, my memory is not working and not helping me. Also, this question is discussed a little in the Third Branch of the Twenty-Fourth Word. We shall therefore only indicate very briefly two or three points about it, as follows:


According to explanations given by investigative scholars, and as indicated by the title Dhu’l-Qarnayn, names beginning with the suffix Dhu, like Dhu’l-Yazan, were used by the kings of Yemen, therefore this Dhu’l-Qarnayn was not Alexander the Great. He was rather one of the kings of Yemen who lived at the time of Abraham (UWP) and received instruction from Khidr. Alexander the Greek, however, lived approximately three hundred years before Christ, and was taught by Aristotle.


Human history goes back in regular fashion approximately three thousand years. This deficient and short view of history is not accurate concerning pre-Abrahamic times. It continues back either as superstition, or as denial, or in very abbreviated form. The reason this Dhu’l-Qarnayn of Yemen became known since early times in Qur’anic commentaries with the name Alexander, was either that it was one of his names, so that he was Alexander the Great or the Alexander of Ancient Times, or else the following:


The particular events mentioned by verses of the Qur’an are the tips of universal events. Thus, through his prophetic guidance, Alexander the Great, who was Dhu’l-Qarnayn, founded a barrier between the peoples who were oppressors and those who were oppressed, and built the famous Great Wall of China to prevent the raids of those cruel enemies. Similarly, many powerful kings and world conquerors like Alexander the Greek followed in the path of Dhu’l-Qarnayn materially, while prophets and spiritual poles, who are like the kings of man’s spiritual world, followed him in respect of spiritual matters and guidance; they built barriers between mountains—one of the most effective means of saving the oppressed from oppressors, and later constructed strongholds on mountain tops. They founded these themselves through their material power, or through their guidance and planning. Then they built walls surrounding towns and citadels inside the towns, and finally they made machine-guns and Dreadnoughts, which were like mobile citadels. The most famous barrier on earth, the Great Wall of China, covers a distance of several days’ journeying and was built to halt the incursions against the oppressed peoples of India and China of the savage tribes known in the Qur’an as Gog and Magog, and otherwise known as the Mongols and Manchurians. These tribes several times threw the world of humanity into chaos, and pouring out from behind the Himalayas wrought destruction from East to West. A long wall was built between two mountains close to the Himalayan mountains which for a long time prevented the frequent assaults of those savage peoples, and barriers were also built through the efforts of the kings of ancient Persia, who resembled Dhu’l-Qarnayn, in the mountains of Caucasia, in the region of Darband, to halt the inroads of the plundering and pillaging Tatar peoples. There are very many barriers of this sort. Since the All-Wise Qur’an speaks with all mankind, it mentions what is apparently a particular incident, recalling all events similar to it. It is from this point of view that the narrations concerning the Barrier and Gog and Magog, and the writings of the Qur’anic commentators about them, all differ.


Furthermore, in respect of related subjects, the All-Wise Qur’an transfers from one event to another distant one. Someone who does not think of this relation supposes the two events to be close in time. Thus, the Qur’an’s predicting the end of the world from the destruction of the Barrier is not in respect of the two events being close in time, but for two subtle points in respect of the association of the subjects. That is, the world will be destroyed just as the Barrier will be destroyed. Also, as mountains, which are natural, Divine barriers, are firm and will only be destroyed at the end of the world, so is this Barrier firm as a mountain, and will only be levelled to dust at the destruction of the world. Even if it suffers damage from the assaults of time, for the most part it will remain intact. Yes, although the Great Wall of China, which is one particular meaning from the universal meaning of the Barrier of Dhu’l-Qarnayn, has been standing for thousands of years, it is still there for all to see. It is read as a long embodied, petrified, meaningful line from ancient history written by man’s hand on the page of the earth.




* * *




There are brief replies concerning Jesus (Upon whom be peace) killing the Dajjal in both the First and the Fifteenth Letters, which should suffice you.




* * *


In His Name!


And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.




Peace be upon you, and God’s mercy and blessings.


My Dear Self-Sacrificing, Loyal, Conscientious Brothers, Hoja Sabri and Hâfiz Ali!


Although your important question about the verse at the end of Sura Luqman about the Five Hidden Things deserves an important reply, unfortunately neither my present state of mind nor physical condition permit such an answer. I shall only allude very concisely to one or two points your question touches on.


Your question shows that atheists who have deviated from true path of religion have made objections and criticisms concerning the time of rain falling and nature of the embryos in the womb from among the Five Hidden Things. They have said: “Instruments in the observatory can discover when rain is to fall, so someone other than God knows. Also the sex of embryos can be learnt by means of X-rays. This means it is possible to learn the Five Hidden Things.”


T h e A n s w e r : Not being tied to any law, the time rain falls is bound directly to Divine will. One instance of wisdom in its appearance from the treasury of mercy being dependent on a particular Divine wish is as follows:


The most important things in the universe and the most valuable are existence, life, light, and mercy, which look directly, without intermediary or veil, to Divine power and a particular Divine wish. In other creatures, apparent causes are veils to the disposal of Divine power, and regular laws and principles to an extent screen the Divine will and wish. However, such veils have not been placed on existence, life, light, and mercy, for the purpose they serve is not in force in those things.


Since the most important truths in existence are mercy and life, and rain is the source of life and means of mercy, indeed is pure mercy, for sure intermediaries will not veil it, neither will laws and monotony screen the wishes that pertain to God alone. In this way everyone in every situation will all the time be obliged to offer thanks and worship and supplications and prayers. If rain had been included under a law, everyone would have relied on the law and the door of thanks and supplication would have been closed.


It is clear that there are numerous benefits in the sun’s rising. But since it is tied to a regular law, supplications are not offered for its rising and thanks are not given. And since by means of the law human knowledge knows that it will rise again tomorrow, it is not counted among the matters of the Unseen. But since the particular occurences of rain do not follow any law, men are all the time obliged to take refuge at the Divine Court with prayers and supplications. And since human knowledge has been unable to specify the times of precipitation, they consider it to be a special bounty proceeding from the treasury of mercy alone, and truly offer thanks.


It is because of this that the verse includes the time of rain among the Five Hidden Things. Deducing the preliminaries of rain with instruments in observatories and specifying the times of precipitation is not knowing the Unseen, but through studying certain of its preliminaries knowing when it has emerged from the World of the Unseen and drawn close to the Manifest World.


When the most secret events of the Unseen occur, or when they are close to occurring, they are known through a sort of premonition. That is not knowing the Unseen, it is knowing something existent or its being close to existence. I myself even, through a sensitivity in my nerves, perceive the rain, sometimes twenty-four hours before it comes. That is to say, the rain has preliminaries, forerunners. They show themselves through a sort of dampness, making it known that rain is to follow. Just like a law, this situation is a means of reaching matters that have left the World of the Unseen but not yet entered the Manifest World. But to know when rain will fall that has not yet set foot in the Manifest World, nor left through a particular Divine wish the treasury of mercy, is peculiar to the One All-Knowing of the Unseen.


* * *




Learning by means of X-rays whether a child in the womb is male or female is not contrary to the meaning of the verse, And He Who knows what is in the wombs, which refers to the Unseen. For what is intended by the verse are the preliminaries of the child’s particular capacity and the appointed course of its life, which it will acquire in the future, and even the wondrous stamp of the Eternally Besought One on its face—the child being known in this way is particular to the knowledge of the One All-Knowing of the Unseen. Even if a hundred thousand X-ray-like minds of men were to combine, they still could not discover its true features, each of which is a mark distinguishing the child from all the other members of the human race. So how could they discover the immaterial features of its abilities, which are a hundred times more wondrous than its physical features.


We said at the beginning that existence, life, and mercy are the most important truths in the universe and that the most important station is theirs. Therefore, one reason for that comprehensive truth of life looking with all its fine points and subtleties to the Divine will and wish and mercy, which are particular to God Almighty, is this:


It is because life together with all its faculties is the source and means of thanks and worship that laws and monotony, which are a veil to the will which is God’s alone, and apparent intermediaries, which screen mercy which is particular to God Almighty, have not been placed on it. Almighty God has two manifestations in the physical and non-physical features of unborn children.


One shows Divine Unity, Oneness, and Eternal Besoughtedness, whereby, being in conformity and agreement with other human beings in regard to basic members and human faculties, the child testifies to Divine Unity. With this tongue the child shouts out: “Whoever gave me these features and members is also the Maker of all human beings, who resemble me in regard to basic members, and He is also the Maker of all living beings.”


Thus, this tongue of the child in the womb does not pertain to the Unseen; it may be known since it follows the law and general rule and the species. It is a branch and tongue of the Manifest World which has entered the World of the Unseen.


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


I n S h o r t : In the features of the embryo’s innate capacity and in its physical features there are both evidence for Divine Unity and proofs of Divine will and choice. If Almighty God grants success, a number of further points shall be written about the Five Hidden Things. But for now I have no more time and my condition does not permit it, so I conclude here.


The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One!


S a i d N u r s i




Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.


* * *


In His Name, be He glorified!


And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.




My Dear, Loyal, Curious Brother, Re’fet Bey!


You ask in your letter about the Ten Subtle Faculties. It is not appropriate to give instruction in the Sufi way at present; there are in any case the works of the scholars of the Naqshbandi way about the Ten Subtle Faculties. Our duty at the present time is the discovery of mysteries, not the relating of existent matters. Don’t be offended, I cannot give the details. I shall only say this much, that Imam-i Rabbani defined the Ten Subtle Faculties as the heart, spirit, inner heart [sirr], khafi, akhfa, and a faculty related to each of the four elements in man, and discussed briefly the progress of one faculty in each stage of the spiritual journeying.


I myself observe that there are numerous subtle faculties in man’s comprehensive disposition and vital potentialities, of which ten have become famous. The philosophers and ‘externalist’ scholars, even, took those Ten Faculties as the basis of their theories in another form, calling them the five external senses and five internal senses, which are the windows or samples of those Ten Faculties. In fact, man’s ten subtle faculties, which are known by both the learned and ordinary people, are related to the Ten Subtle Faculties of the Sufis. For example, if faculties like the conscience, nerves, emotions, intellect, desires, power of animal appetites, and power of anger are added to the heart, spirit, and inner heart, the Ten Subtle Faculties are shown in another way. There are many other faculties in addition to these, like the sense of premonition, and various motive and appetitive powers. If the reality of this question was described, it would be very lengthy, and as I have little time, I am compelled to cut it short.


As for your second question, about the aspect of things which looks to themselves, and the aspect which looks to their Maker [mânâ-yi ismî and mânâ-yi harfî], they are explained at the start of all books on Arabic grammar. So too there are ample explanations of them, together with comparisons, in the works of the science of reality, called The Words and Letters. For someone intelligent and exacting like yourself, further discussion would be superfluous. When you look in the mirror, if you look at it for the glass, you will intentionally see the glass; in it, Re’fet will strike the eye secondly, indirectly. Whereas if your purpose is to look at the mirror in order to see your blessed face, you will intentionally see lovable Re’fet. You will exclaim: “So blessed be God, the Best of Creators!” The glass of the mirror will strike your eye secondly and indirectly.


Thus, in the first instance, the glass of the mirror is ‘the meaning which looks to the thing itself’, while Re’fet is its ‘significative meaning’. In the second instance, the glass of the mirror is ‘the significative meaning’, that is, it is not looked at for itself, but for another meaning; that is, the reflection. The reflection is ‘the meaning which looks to the thing itself.’ That is, it is included in one respect in the definition “it points to a meaning in itself.” While the mirror verifies the definition of its ‘significative meaning’, which is “it points to the meaning of another.”


According to the Qur’anic view, all the beings in the universe are letters, expressing through their ‘significative meaning,’ the meaning of another. That is, they make known the Names and attributes of that Other. Soulless philosophy for the most part looks in accordance with ‘the meaning which looks to the thing itself,’ and deviates into the bog of Nature. However... I do not have the time now for much talk. In fact, I cannot even write the final and easiest and most important part of the Index. Convey my greetings to your study companions, in particular, Husrev, Bekir, Rüsdü, Lütfü, Shaykh Mustafa, Hâfiz Ahmed, Sezâi, the Mehmed’s, and the Hojas. I pray for the blessed innocents in your household.


The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One!


Your brother,


S a i d N u r s i


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