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The Twelfth Flash




[This consists of the explanation of two fine points concerning the Qur'an, written in connection with two minor questions put by Re'fet Bey.)




In His Name, be He glorified!


And there is nothing hut it glorifies Him with praise.


Peace be upon you, and on your brothers, and God's mercy and blessings!


My Dear, Loyal Brother, Re'fet Bey,


Your questions at this difficult time put me in a difficult position. On this occasion your two questions are unimportant, but since they are connected with two points of the Qur'an and your question about the globe of the earth touches on criticisms concerning the seven levels of the earth and the heavens made by geography and astronomy, they seemed to me to be important. Therefore not considering the unimportant nature of the questions, Two Topics will be explained concerning two verses of the Qur'an, in a scholarly and general way.




This consists of two Points.


F i r s t P o i n t : According to the verses,




How many, are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? It is God Who feeds (both) them and you. * For God is He Who gives (all) sustenance - Lord of Power, Steadfast (for ever),


sustenance is directly in the hand of the All-Powerful One of Glory and comes from the treasury of His mercy. Since the sustenance of all living creatures is guaranteed by the Sustainer, it should be that none dies of hunger. Whereas apparently many die of hunger and lack of food. This reality and mystery may be solved as follows:


The Sustainer's guarantee is a reality; none die of hunger. For that All-Wise One of Glory stores up some of the sustenance He sends to the bodies of living creatures as fat, as reserves. In fact, He stores up a part of the sustenance He sends to each cell, in the cell, like a reserve stock to be spent when no sustenance comes from outside. They die before this store is finished. That is to say, such death is not from lack of sustenance; they rather die from a habit acquired through wrong choice and due to illness arising from desire for the wrong things and the giving up of habit.


Yes, the natural sustenance stored up in the bodies of living creatures in the form of fat generally lasts perfectly well for forty days. It may even exceed twice forty days as the result of illness or certain ecstatic states. It was written in the newspapers thirteen years ago (and now it is thirty-nine) that out of extreme stubbornness, a man in prison in London managed to live quite healthily for seventy days eating nothing at all.


Since the natural sustenance persists from forty days to seventy or eighty; and since the manifestation of the Divine Name of Provider is apparent on the face of the earth in most extensive fashion; and since foods flow forth from breasts and wood in completely unexpected fashion; if man so full of evil does not interfere with his bad desires and confuse things, that Name comes to the assistance of the living creature before the natural sustenance is consumed, and it does not open up the way to death through starvation. In which case, if those who die of hunger do so in less than forty days, it is definitely not from lack of sustenance. Rather, in accordance with the saying, "the abandoning of habit is one of those things which is fatal," it occurs either from a bad habit or from illness resulting from the giving up of habits. In which case it may be said that there is no death from hunger.


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


S e c o n d P o i n t : There are different sorts of possibility, like `reasonable possibility,' `customary possibility,' and `ordinary possibility.' If an event is not within the bounds of reasonable possibility, it is rejected, and if it is not within the bounds of customary possibility, it is a miracle, but may not easily be wonder-working. If it has no like, either according to common usage or in principle, it can only be accepted through categorical proof at the degree of witnessing.


It is as a consequence of this that the extraordinary states of Sayyid Ahmad Badawi, who did not eat bread even for forty days, are within the bounds of customary possibility. It may have been both wonder-working and a habitual practice out of the ordinary. Yes, there are numerous unanimous reports concerning Sayyid Ahmad Badawi's (May his mystery be sanctified) wondrous states and absorption in ecstasy. On occasion, he ate only once in forty days, but it was not like that all the time; it was sometimes achieved through wonder-working. It is a possibility that because he did not feel the need to eat while in a state of ecstasy, it became as though habitual for him. Wonders of this sort have been reliably narrated about many saints of the kind of Sayyid Ahmad Badawi (May his mystery be sanctified). As we proved in the First Point, stored-up sustenance continues for more than forty days, and it is possible through habit not to eat for that length of time, and such a state has been reliably reported about people who were out of the ordinary. It therefore cannot be denied.




TWO IMPORTANT MATTERS will be explained in connection with the second question, because since the sciences of geography and astronomy have been unable to ascend to the heavens of the Qur'an with their abbreviated laws and narrow principles and tiny scales, and since they have been unable to discover the seven levels of meanings in the stars of its verses, they have criticized the verse, and foolishly even tried to deny it.






This is about the earth having seven levels like the heavens. This matter appears to the philosophers of the present time to be untrue; their sciences about the earth and heavens do not accept it. And making this the pretext, they oppose some of the truths of the Qur'an. We shall point out concisely a few points about this.


T h e F i r s t : Firstly, the verse's meaning is one thing and the parts of the meaning and points confirming it, another. The meaning cannot be denied if one of the many parts of the universal meaning is absent. Of the numerous parts of the universal meaning concerning the seven levels of the heavens and seven layers of the earth, seven points confirming it are clearly apparent.


Secondly, the verse does not explicitly state that "the earth has seven layers." The apparent meaning of the verse is,


God is He Who created seven heavens and of the earth what is similar... (to the end of the verse):


"He created the earth like the seven heavens, and made it a dwelling place for His creatures." It does not say: I created it as seven levels. Its being similar is in regard to createdness and being the habitation of creatures.




T h e S e c o n d : The globe of the earth is certainly very small in relation to the heavens, but since it is the exhibition, display, gathering place and centre of countless Divine artefacts, as a heart and immaterial centre of the vast and endless heavens, it is equivalent to them, like the heart may be seen as equivalent to the body. For this reason, the earth having seven climes, as was supposed from early times; also the well-known seven continents, Europe, Africa, Oceania, the two Asias, and the two America's; also together with the seas, the East, West, North, and South, the well-known seven regions of this face and on the face of the New World; also the various, contiguous seven levels from the centre to the outer crust, which have been established by science; and the famous seven universal elements called the "seven levels", which comprise the seventy simple elements which are the means of animate creatures' lives; also the four elements of water, air, fire, and earth, together with the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, making seven levels and realms; also the seven realms of the earth established by those who uncover the secrets of creation and the people of witnessing, who are very numerous, their testimony that they are the worlds and habitations of jinns, demons, and other various sentient and living creatures; also the seven levels indicating that seven further globes exist resembling our globe, and that they are the dwelling places of living creatures-from these indications it has been understood from verses of the Qur'an that the earth too has seven levels.


It thus becomes clear that seven sorts of levels of the earth exist in seven ways. The eighth, which is the final meaning, is important from another point of view; it is not included in the seven.


T h e T h i r d : Since the Absolutely Wise One wastes nothing and creates nothing in vain; and since creatures exist for conscious beings and find their perfection through conscious beings and rejoice through conscious beings and are saved from futility through conscious beings; and since observedly the Absolutely Wise One and All-Powerful One of Glory inhabits the element of air, and world of water, and layer of earth with innumerable living beings; and since just as air and water are not an obstacle to the movement of animals, so also dense matter like earth and stone do not form obstacles to the passage of matter like electricity and X-rays; for sure the All-Wise One of Glory, the Undying Maker, will not leave empty and uninhabited the broad spaces and worlds and caves and seven contiguous layers from the centre of our globe to the outer crust, which is our habitation and centre. He has certainly inhabited them and created and settled there conscious beings appropriate to those worlds. Since those sentient creatures have to be sorts of angels and spirit beings, the densest and hardest layer even will be to them like the sea is to fish and the air to birds. The awesome heat at the centre of the earth even has to be for those conscious creatures like the sun's heat is for us. Created from light, fire is like light for those sentient spirit beings.


T h e F o u r t h : Mentioned in the Eighteenth Letter is a comparison about the people of illuminations' depictions of the strange wonders of the earth's levels, which are outside the bounds of reason. A summary of it is this:


In the Manifest Realm the globe of the earth is a seed, while in the


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








The ,seven heavens and the earth and all that is in them extols and glorifies Him (to the end of the verse) * And has applied His design to the heavens, and fashioned them into seven heavens, and He has full knowledge of all things.


Numerous verses like these describe the heavens as seven heavens. It is appropriate to write here only a summary of this matter, which we expounded of necessity extremely briefly in the commentary Isharatu’l-I'jaz (Signs of Miraculousness), while on the front in the first year of Great War. It is as follows:




Former philosophy conceived of the heavens as nine; accepting in the tongue of the Shari'a the Throne of God and Seat of God together with the seven heavens, they depicted the heavens in strange manner. The glittering terms of the brilliant philosophers of that time held mankind under their sway for many centuries. Many Qur'anic commentators were compelled to make the apparent meanings of verses conform to their school. In this way the A11-Wise Qur'an's miraculousness was veiled to an extent. As for the new philosophy, called modern philosophy, in the face of the excesses of ancient philosophy about the heavens, it went to the other extreme and quite simply denied the existence of the heavens. The former went to excess and the latter were deficient; they were unable to portray reality in its entirety.


As for the sacred wisdom of the All-Wise Qur'an, it left aside such excess and negligence, and choosing the middle way said that the All-Glorious Maker created the seven levels of the heavens. The planets swim in the heavens like fish and glorify God. It is said in a Hadith: "The skies are waves held back." That is, "the heavens are an ocean the waves of which are stationary."


And so, we shall prove this truth of the Qur'an extremely briefly through seven rules and seven aspects of meaning.




First Rule: It is established by science and philosophy that limitless space is not an infinite vacuum, but filled with matter called ether.


The Second: It is established by science and reason, and indeed by observation, that the bond of the laws governing the heavenly bodies like those of attraction and repulsion, and the conductor and transmitter of forces in matter like light, heat, and electricity is a matter which fills space.


The Third: It has been established empirically that together with remaining as ether, like other matter, it has various forms and formations. Just as there are three states of the same matter, liquid, gas and solid, like steam, water, and ice, so too there is nothing to reasonably prevent ether having seven states or levels; it cannot be objected to in any way.


The Fourth: If the heavenly bodies are studied carefully, it will be seen that there is a difference in the levels. The level which contains the vast cloud-like sphere called the Milky Way of course does not resemble the level of the fixed stars. It is as if the level of fixed stars have ripened and matured like the fruits of summer, while the uncountable stars apparent in the form of a cloud in the Milky Way are constantly emerging and beginning to mature. According to accurate conjecture, the level of fixed stars also appears different to the level of the solar system. And so on. One may adduce seven systems and seven levels which differ from one another.




The Fifth: It is established by conjecture, sense, inductive reasoning, and experience that if a material is given order and form and if other artefacts are made from the material, it becomes various levels and forms. For example, when a diamond mine is begun to be worked, from the material both ashes and coal and diamonds are produced. And for example, when fire is begun to be formed, it separates into the levels of flame, smoke, and embers. And for example, when water and oxygen are combined, levels like water, ice, and steam are formed. That is to say, it is understood that when a single substance is worked, it may separate into levels. In which case, when Creative Power starts to work in the substance called ether, in accordance with the verse, and fashioned them into seven heavens, it created from it seven sorts of heavens as differing levels.


The Sixth: The above indications necessarily indicate both the existence, and the plurality, of the heavens. Since the heavens are certainly numerous, and through the tongue of the Qur'an the Bringer of Sure News stated that they are seven, for sure they a re seven.


The Seventh: Since in Arabic, terms like seven, seventy, and seven hundred express multiplicity, those universal seven levels may comprise multiple levels.


I n S h o r t : The All-Powerful One of Glory created the seven heavens from ether, and forming it into levels, ordered it with a truly fine and wondrous order and sowed the stars in it. Since the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition is a pre-eternal address speaking to all the classes of all mankind and the jinn, for sure each of those classes will receive its share from the Qur'an's verses and its verses will contain various and numerous meanings, both explicit and implicit, in a way that will satisfy the understanding of each.


Yes, the breadth of the Qur'anic address and the comprehensiveness of its meanings and indications and its conforming to and flattering all the degrees of understanding from the most uneducated common people to the highest of the elite shows that all its verses have an aspect which looks to each class. Thus, as a consequence of this mystery, as an example, seven classes of men understand as follows the meaning of seven various levels from the universal meaning "seven heavens:"




A short-sighted and narrow-minded class of men understands the atmosphere from the verse and .fashioned them into seven heavens. While another class of men befogged by astronomy understands the famous stars known popularly as the Seven Planets, and their orbits. Yet another group understands seven celestial globes resembling our globe, which are inhabited by living creatures. A further group of men understands the solar system being separated into seven levels, and seven solar systems together with our system. And yet another group understands the ether being separated into seven levels. Another class of men with broader ideas counts all the visible skies gilded with stars as a heaven, and saying that it is this world's heaven, understands that there are six levels of heavens besides it. And mankind's seventh and highest class do not consider the seven heavens to be restricted to the Manifest World, and understands that the Worlds of the Hereafter and the Unseen, and this World, and the World of Similitudes all have seven heavens, each of which is an encompassing container and roof.


Similarly, there are many further particular meanings in the universal of the verse, like the above-mentioned seven levels of meaning of the seven levels. Everyone receives his share according to his understanding and everyone finds his sustenance at that heavenly table.


Since the verse has thus numerous points confirming it, the unreasoning philosophers and foolish astronomers attacking the verse in that way on the pretext of denying the heavens is like silly children throwing stones at a star in the hope of making it fall. Because if one of the points confirming it from the verse's universal meaning is correct, the universal meaning is correct and true. A particular even which is not literally true but is commonly accepted may be included in the universal meaning in order to conform to the generally held ideas. Whereas we saw numerous particulars which are right and true. Now look at this unfair, unjust geography and drunken intoxicated astronomy: how wrong these two sciences have been, closing their eyes to the universal meaning, which is right and correct and true, and not seeing the aspects which confirm it and are absolutely right; they have fancied an imaginary and extraordinary particular to be the meaning of the verse and thrown stones at the verse! And they have broken their own heads and lost their belief!


I n S h o r t : Since unbelieving materialist ideas, like jinns and satans, have been unable to ascend to the seven levels of the skies of the Qur'an, which was revealed in seven recitations, and with seven aspects, seven sorts of miraculousness, seven truths, and seven pillars, they do not know what there is and what there is not in the stars of its verses, and give false and inaccurate reports. And falling stars like the above discussion descend on their heads from the stars of those verses and scorch them. Yes, the heavens of the Qur'an cannot be ascended to through the jinn-like ideas of philosophy. The stars of its verses can only be risen to through the ascension of true wisdom and the wings of belief and Islam.


* God Grant blessings to the Sun of the skies of prophethood and Moon of the firmament of messengerhood, and to his Family and Companions, the stars of guidance for the rightly-guided.


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

* O God O Sustainer of the Heavens and Earth! Adorn the hearts of the translator of this treatise and his companions with the stars of the truths of the Qur'an and belief. Amen.


* * *

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