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The Fourteenth Word


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


Alif. Lam. Ra. [This is] a Book with verses fundamental [of established meaning]. Further explained in detail, from One All-Wise and Well-Acquainted [with all things].1


[in order to ascend to some of the elevated and exalted truths of the All-Wise Qur'an, and of Hadiths, the true expounder of the Qur'an, we shall point out a number of comparisons of those truths which are like steps to assist hearts deficient in submission and obedience, and shall explain in the Conclusion an object lesson and a mystery concerning Divine favour. Since from among those truths, comparisons of the Resurrection and the Day of Judgement have been mentioned in the Tenth Word, and its Ninth Truth in particular, there is no need to repeat them. Here we shall mention only 'Five Matters' as examples of the other truths.]


THE FIRST: In order to be convinced, for example, of the verse,


He created the heavens and the earth in six days,2


and its elevated truth that indicates through the Qur'anic days, which consist of a long period of time like perhaps a thousand or fifty thousand years, that man's world and that of the animals will last six days, we point out to be observed the travelling worlds, transient universes, and passing cosmoses which the Glorious Maker creates every day, every year, every century, each of which is like a day. Indeed, it is as though these worlds are each a guest like man. At the All-Glorious One's command, each season the world is filled and emptied.


THE SECOND: For example, the verses,


Nor anything fresh or dry but is [inscribed] in a Record Clear.3 * And of all things have We taken account in a Clear Book.4 * From Whom is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on earth; nor is there anything less than that, or greater, but it is in the Record Clear.5


In order to be convinced of the elevated truth which these verses state, that, "All things together with all their states are recorded, before they come into existence, when they have come into existence, and after they have departed; and they are being recorded," we point out to be observed the All-Glorious Inscriber's including and preserving in immaterial fashion in the seeds and roots of the innumerable well-ordered creatures which He changes each season on the page of the face of the earth, and particularly in the spring, the indexes of their beings, life-histories, and principles according to which they act. And when they die His inscribing in immaterial fashion with the same pen of Divine Determining these indexes, life-histories and principles in the simple seeds in their fruits. And each passing spring even His preserving them - whether fresh or dry - in perfect order in seeds like dry chips of wood and bones, limited and tiny. It is as if each spring is attached like a flower to the face of the earth in extremely well-ordered and well-balanced fashion by the hand of One All-Beautiful and All-Glorious, then plucked from it; each is placed on it, then removed. While the reality is this, one of the strangest forms of man's misguidance is that he calls this natural writing, this inscribing full of art, this passive pattern of wisdom which is an index of Dominical art and only a reflection and manifestation of the Preserved Tablet, 'Nature', and considers it to be the source and active and effective. Can there be any comparison between the ground and the Pleiades? Can there be any comparison between reality and the views of the heedless?


THE THIRD: For example, in order to ascend to the truth which the Bringer of Sure News described concerning the Bearers of the Throne, the angels appointed to the earth and the skies, and other sorts of angels, stating that they glorify God with forty thousand heads, and with the forty thousand tongues in each head, and in forty thousand ways with each tongue, consider the following carefully. Through verses like,


The seven heavens and the earth and all within them glorify and extol Him.6 * It was We Who made the hills declare in unison with him Our praises.7 * We did indeed offer the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains,8


the All-Glorious One expresses clearly that even the greatest and most universal of beings demonstrate that they glorify Him in accordance with their universality and in a way appropriate to their vastness. And it appears to be thus. Just as the words of glorification of the heavens, which are an ocean glorifying God, are the suns, moons, and stars, so too the words of praise of the earth, a flying thing praising and glorifying, are the animals, plants and trees. That is to say, just as the trees and stars each perform a particular form of glorification, so too does the earth and each part of the earth, and each mountain and valley, and the land and the sea, and the spheres of the firmament and the constellations in the heavens each perform a universal form of glorification. The earth, which possesses these thousands of heads in each of which are thousands of tongues, certainly has an angel appointed to it who translates and displays in the World of Similitudes the flowers of glorification and fruits of praise it performs with each, and who represents and proclaims them in the World of Spirits.


Indeed, if numerous things take on the form of a collectivity, a collective personality comes into being. If such a collectivity fuses and takes the form of a unity, it will have a collective personality, a sort of spirit which will represent it, and an appointed angel who will perform its duty of glorification. As an example, consider the plane-tree in front of my room here, a mighty word of the mouth of Barla and the tongue of this mountain: see how many hundreds of tongues of smaller branches there are on the three heads of the three main branches of its trunk. Study carefully how many hundreds of words of well-ordered and balanced fruits it has, and how many hundreds of letters of well-proportioned winged seeds; just as you hear and see how eloquently it praises and glorifies the All-Glorious Maker, the Owner of the command of Be! and it is, so too the angel appointed to it represents its glorification with numerous tongues in the World of Meaning. Wisdom necessitates that it is so.


THE FOURTH: For example, consider the elevated truth expressed by verses like:


Indeed, His command when He wills a thing, is, Be!, and it is.9 * And the decision of the Hour is as the twinkling of an eye.10 * And We are closer to him than his jugular vein.11 * The angels ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years,12


the Absolutely Powerful One creates things with such ease and speed, with such facility and lack of trouble, that it appears and is understood that He creates with a mere command. Also, although the All-Powerful Maker is infinitely close to beings, they are infinitely distant from him. Furthermore, despite His infinite might and glory, attaching importance to them, He sets in order also the most insignificant and lowly matters, and does not leave them outside the beauty of His art. Thus, the perfect order within absolute ease observed in beings testifies to the existence of this Qur'anic truth, and so too the following comparison demonstrates its meaning and wisdom. For example, And God's is the highest similitude, the duties the sun displays through the Dominical command and Divine subjugation, which is like a dense mirror to the Divine Name of Light among the All-Glorious Maker's Most Beautiful Names, brings this truth closer to the understanding. It is as follows:


Although through its elevatedness, the sun is infinitely close to all transparent and shining things, rather is closer to them than their own selves, and although it has an effect on them in numerous ways like through its manifestation, its image, and power of disposal, those transparent things are thousands of years distant from it, they can in no way have an effect on it, they cannot claim to be close to it. Also, the sun's being as though present and all-seeing in all transparent particles, and wherever its light enters even, is understood through the sun's reflection and its image in some respect being apparent in accordance with the particles' capacities and colours. Furthermore, the sun's comprehensiveness and penetration increase to the vast extent of its luminosity. It is because of the greatness of its luminosity that the tiniest things cannot hide or escape from it. This means that its immense vastness does not exclude things through the mystery of luminosity; on the contrary, it takes them within the sphere of its comprehension. Moreover, if to suppose the impossible we were to imagine the sun to act with will in the tasks and manifestations its displays, with Divine permission it would function with such ease and speed and breadth in things from particles and droplets and the surface of the sea to the planets, that it would be supposed that it performed these mighty disposals through a mere command. A particle and a planet would be equal before its command. The effulgence it would bestow on the surface of the sea, it would bestow also with perfect order on a particle in accordance with its capacity.


Thus, we see that the sun, which is a luminous bubble in the seas of the skies and a small and dense mirror to the manifestation of the Absolutely Powerful One's Name of Light, observedly displays examples of the three principles of this truth. And so, we surely believe with complete certainty as though witnessing it that the All-Glorious One, Who is the Light of Light, the Illuminator of Light, the Determiner of Light, and in comparison to Whose knowledge and power the sun's light and heat is like earth, is all-present and all-seeing and infinitely close to all things with His knowledge and power, and that things are utterly distant from Him, and that He does things with such ease and facility that it is understood that He creates with the ease and speed of a mere command, and that nothing at all, great or small, particular or universal, can go out from the sphere of His power, and that His greatness encompasses all things. And this has to be believed.


THE FIFTH: While the limits of the vastness of the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity's Dominicality and the tremendousness of His Godhead stretch from,


No just estimate have they made of God, such as is due to Him: on the Day of Judgement the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand 13




And know that God comes between man and his heart,14


and from,


God is the Creator of All Things, and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs 15




[God] knows what they hide as well as what they disclose,16


and from,


[Who] created the heavens and the earth 17




God has created you and what you do,18


and from,


God has willed this! There is no power but with God 19




But you will not, except as God wills,20


what is the purpose of His stern complaints and severe and awesome threats in the Qur'an against the sons of Adam, so impotent and infinitely weak and utterly poor and endlessly needy, who possess only partial will and have no power to create? In what way is it conformable, and how is it appropriate? In order to be convinced of this profound and elevated truth, consider the following two comparisons:


First Comparison: For example, there was a royal garden in which were innumerable fruit-bearing and flowering things. Many servants were appointed to attend to it. The duty of one of the servants was only to open the water canal so that the water could spread throughout the garden and be benefited from. But the servant was lazy and did not open the canal, so harm came to the growth of the garden, or else it dried up. All the other servants had the right to complain, not about the Creator's Dominical art and the Sultan's royal supervision and the obedient service of the light, air, and earth, but about that foolish servant, for their duties were all made fruitless, or else harm came to them.


Second Comparison: For example, if, through abandoning his minor duty on a mighty royal ship, a common man causes harm to come to the results of the duties of all the others employed on the ship, and some of them even are made to come to nothing, the ship's owner will complain bitterly about him in the name of all the others. And the one at fault cannot say: "I'm just an ordinary person. I don't deserve this severity because of my unimportant omission." For a single instance of non-existence results in innumerable such instances, whereas existence yields results in accordance with itself. For although the existence of a thing is dependent on the existence of all the conditions and causes, its non-existence, its removal, occurs with the removal of a single condition and results from the non-existence of a single particular. It is because of this that, 'Destruction is much easier than repair' has become like a universally accepted principle. Since the bases of unbelief and misguidance, rebellion and disobedience, are denial and rejection, they are an abandoning and non-acceptance. However positive and possessing of existence they appear superficially, in reality they are removal and non-existence. In which case they are a contagious crime. Just as they cause harm to the results of the acts of other beings, so too they draw a veil over the manifestation of the beauties of the Divine Names.


And so, the Monarch of Beings, Whose right it is to make these innumerable complaints, utters awesome complaints about rebellious man in the name of those beings. And to do so is perfect wisdom. And rebellious man is certainly deserving of His severe and awesome threats; without doubt he deserves them.


* * *




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


And what are the goods of this world but the goods of deception? 21


[A slap for the heedless and a warning lesson]


O my wretched soul sunk in heedlessness, which sees this life as sweet, has forgotten the hereafter, and seeks only this world! Do you know what you resemble? An ostrich! It sees the hunter, but cannot fly, so sticks it head in the sand so the hunter will not see it. Its huge body remains in the open, and the hunter sees it. Only, its eyes are closed in the sand, and it cannot see him. O my soul, consider the following comparison, and see it!


Restricting the view to this world transforms a great pleasure into a grievous pain. For example, there are two men in this village, that is, in Barla. Ninety-nine out of a hundred of the friends of one of them have gone to Istanbul, where they are living in fine fashion. Only one has remained here, and he too will go there. For this reason, the man longs for Istanbul and thinks of it; he wants to join his friends. When he is told to go there, he is overjoyed and goes happily. As for the second man, ninety-nine of his friends have departed from here. But some have perished, and some have been put in places where they neither see nor are seen. He imagines that they have departed and gone in utter misery. This wretched man becomes friendly with a single guest in place of all of them, and wants to find consolation. Through him he wants to forget that grievous pain of separation.


O my soul! Foremost God's Beloved, and all your friends, are beyond the grave. And the one or two who remain here will also depart for there. So do not be frightened of death, anxious at the grave, and avert your head. Look manfully at the grave, and listen to what it seeks. Laugh in death's face like a man, and see what it wants. Beware, do not be heedless and resemble the second man.


O my soul! Do not say, "The times have changed, this age is different, everyone is plunged into this world and worships this life. Everyone is drunk with the struggle for livelihood." For death does not change. Separation is not transformed into permanence and become different. Man's impotence and poverty do not change, they increase. Man's journey is not cut, it becomes faster.


And do not say, "I am like everyone else." For everyone befriends you only as far as the grave. And the consolation of being together with everyone else in disaster has no basis beyond the grave. And do not suppose yourself to be free and independent. For if you look at this guest-house of the world with the eye of wisdom, you will see that nothing at all is without order and without purpose. How can you remain outside the order and be without purpose? Events in the world like earthquakes are not the playthings of chance. For example, you see that the extremely well-ordered and finely embroidered shirts, one over the other and one within the other, which are clothed on the earth from the species of animals and plants, are adorned and decked out from top to bottom with purposes and instances of wisdom, and you know that the earth revolves and is turned like an ecstatic Mevlevi in perfect order within most exalted aims. How is it then, as an atheist published, they suppose the death-tainted events of the earth, like the earthquake,22 which resembles the earth's shaking off itself the weight of certain forms of heedlessness of which it disapproves from mankind, and especially from the believers, to be without purpose and the result of chance? How is it that they show the grievous losses of all those stricken to be without recompense and to have gone for nothing, and cast them into a fearsome despair? They are both making a great error and perpetrating a great wrong. Indeed, such events occur at the command of One All-Wise and All-Compassionate, in order to transform the transient property of the believers into the equivalent of alms, and make it permanent. And they are atonement for the sins arising from ingratitude for bounties. Just as a day will come when this subjugated earth will see the works of man, which are the adornment of its face, to be tainted by the attributing of partners to God and not to be the cause of thanks, and it will find them ugly. At the Creator's command, it will wipe them off its entire face and cleanse it. At God's command, it will pour those who attribute partners to God into Hell, and say to those who offer thanks, "Come and enter Paradise!"


* * *




The addendum to the Fourteenth Word




In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate


When the earth is shaken to its [utmost] convulsion, * And the earth throws up its burdens [from within], * And man cries [distressed] 'What is the matter with it?' * On that Day will it declare its tidings. * For that your Sustainer will have given it inspiration.23


This Sura states definitely that in its movements and earthquakes the earth shakes at a command, on receiving revelation and inspiration. And sometimes it trembles.


[in reply to six or seven minor questions in connection with the present earthquakes, importantly to do with their meaning, the answers occurred to me, with the prompting that they should be of the same nature. Although on several occasions I intended to write them in detail, permission was not given, so they shall be written briefly and in short.]


l First Question: More distressing than the material disaster of the present severe earthquake is its immaterial aspects; the fear and despair at further earthquakes is destroying the nightly rest of most of the people in most areas. What is the reason for this terrible torment?


The Answer, again in regard to its Meaning: It has been said that the drunken, licentious songs, some of which were performed by girls, being broadcast rapturously by means of the radio during the teravih prayers of the month of Ramazan in every corner of this blessed centre of Islam resulted in the torment of this fear.


l Second Question: Why aren't these heavenly blows visited on those in the countries of the unbelievers? Why are they visited on the unhappy Muslims?


The Answer: Just as the requital for big mistakes and crimes is postponed and made in big centres, and the requital for small crimes is made quickly in small centres, as a consequence of an important instance of wisdom, the recompense of the greater part of the unbelievers' crimes is postponed to the Last Judgement, while the punishment for the believers' faults is in part given in this world.24


l Third Question: What is the reason for this disaster, which arises from the wrongdoing of a few individuals, occurring to some degree in general fashion in the country?


The Answer: The general disaster results from the wrongdoing of the majority: most people in effect participate in the actions of those tyrannical individuals by supporting them either actively or morally or in some connection.


l Fourth Question: Since this disaster of an earthquake results from wrongdoing and is atonement for sins, why are the innocent and those not at fault struck by it? How does Divine justice permit this?


The Answer, again in regard to its meaning: Since this matter is concerned with the mystery of Divine Determining, we refer you to the Risale-i Nur and here only say this:


And fear tumult or oppression, which affects not in particular [only] those of you who do wrong.25


That is, Beware of the calamity or disaster which when it occurs is not restricted to wrongdoers but strikes also the innocent.


The meaning of this verse is as follows: this world is a field of trial and examination, and a place of obligation and struggle. Obligation and examination require that reality remains veiled so that through competition and struggle the Abu Bakr's may rise to the Highest of the High and the Abu Jahl's may enter among the Lowest of the Low. If the innocent remained untouched in such disasters, the Abu Jahl's would submit just like the Abu Bakr's, and the door of spiritual and moral progress through struggle would be closed and the mystery of obligation spoiled.


Since Divine wisdom requires that oppressed and oppressor are together afflicted by disaster, what then is the share of the wretched oppressed of Divine mercy and justice?


It was said in reply to this question: for them there is a manifestation of mercy within the wrath and anger in the disaster. For just as the transient property of the innocent becomes like alms and gains permanence, the relatively little and temporary difficulty and torment is a form of martyrdom for them which gains also for their transient lives a permanent life. The earthquake gains for them a great and perpetual profit, and so for them is an instance of Divine mercy within the wrath.


l Fifth Question: Why does the One Who is All-Just and All-Compassionate, All-Powerful and All-Wise, not give particular punishments for particular wrongs, but inflicts a mighty element? How is this in keeping with the beauty of His mercy and His all-encompassing power?


The Answer: The All-Powerful One of Glory gives numerous duties to each element and causes them to produce numerous results through each duty. If one result of one of an element's duties is ugly, evil, or calamitous, the other good results make this result good also. If the element, which is angry at man, is prevented from that duty so that the single ugly result will not occur, then instances of good to the number of the good results will be abandoned, and so since not doing a necessary good is evil, instances of evil will be done to the number of the instances of good. A single evil not occurring would be extremely ugly, contrary to wisdom, contrary to reality, and a fault. And power, wisdom and reality are free of fault. Since certain faults are rebellion comprehensive enough to cause the earth and elements to become angry, and are insulting aggression infringing the rights of numerous creatures, for sure, in order to demonstrate the extraordinary ugliness of that crime, the command being given to a mighty element to "reprimand them" among its other general duties, is perfect wisdom and justice, and for the oppressed, perfect mercy.


l Sixth Question: The neglectful and heedless put it about that the earthquake resulted from a fault in the rock strata inside the earth, and look upon it as quite simply a chance event, natural, and without purpose. They do not see the non-material causes and results, so that they can come to their senses. Does 'matter', on which they base their views, have some reality?


The Answer: It has no reality other than misguidance for the following reason. Take the fly out of all the species on the earth, which each year is clothed in and changes more than fifty million finely embroidered well-ordered shirts: the intention, will, purpose, and wisdom manifested on the wing of a single fly, which is only one organ out of hundreds of one individual fly out of the countless numbers of all flies on the face of the earth, the fact that it is not neglected or left to its own devices, shows that the significant acts and states of the huge globe of the earth, which is the cradle, mother, place of recourse, and protector of innumerable conscious beings - no aspect of it whether particular or universal - can be outside the Divine will, choice, and purpose. However, as is required by His wisdom, the Possessor of Absolute Power makes apparent causes a veil to His disposals. When He wills an earthquake, and sometimes He does, He commands the movement of the strata and ignites it. And so, even if it results from this movement or a fault in the strata, it is still at the Divine command and in accordance with His wisdom; it cannot occur in any other way.


For example, one man shot another with a rifle. If the man who fired the shot is entirely disregarded, and only taken into consideration is the gunpowder in the bullet igniting, the rights of the wretched victim would be completely violated, and it would be the epitome of foolishness. In just the same way, to forget the Dominical command concerning the earth, which is a docile official of the All-Powerful One of Glory's, rather, a ship or an aeroplane of His: "Explode a bomb inside the earth prepared through wisdom and will in order to arouse the heedless and the rebellious"; to forget this and to deviate into 'Nature', is the very peak of stupidity.


An Addition and Footnote to the Sixth Question: In order to defend their way and counter the awakening of the believers and hinder them, the people of misguidance and the atheists display an obduracy so strange and a stupidity so peculiar that it makes a person regret his humanity. For example, in order to make men give up their wicked and wrongful rebellion which recently has to a degree taken on a general form, and to arouse mankind and make it forego this awesome revolt and recognize the universe's Sovereign, Whom it does not want to recognize, the Creator of the heavens and the earth - not on account of a particular title but as Sustainer and Ruler of the whole universe and all the worlds and through a widespread and general manifestation throughout the universe in the universal sphere of His Dominicality - has struck mankind in the face with awesome and widespread calamities like earthquakes, storms, and world wars through the universal elements coming to anger - through water, the air, and electricity, which are matchless and constant, and has demonstrated through them in most clear fashion His Wisdom, Power, Justice, and Self-Subsistence. Although this is the case, certain brainless satans in human form respond to these universal Dominical signs and divine reprimands with a foolish obstinacy, saying:


"It's Nature. It's an explosion of some strata under the earth and just chance. It's the sun's heat clashing with electricity, which happened in America and brought all machinery to a standstill for five hours, and also caused the atmosphere in Kastamonu Province to turn red and take on the appearance of a conflagration." They utter meaningless nonsense like this. Due to a boundless ignorance resulting from misguidance and an ugly obduracy arising from aggressive atheism, they do not know that causes are only each a pretext and a veil. A small seed taking the place of a village full of factories and looms to weave and produce the members of a pine tree as large as a mountain shows this. Saying, "The tree emerged from the seed", they in effect deny the thousand miracles displayed in the pine tree, and put forward a number of apparent causes. They reduce to nothing a huge Dominical act worked through the Creator's will and wisdom. Sometimes they attach a scientific name to a most profound, unknowable, and most important truth which has purposes in a thousand respects, as though through the name it has been understood. Whereas it is merely made commonplace, without purpose, wisdom, and meaning.


So, come and see the innumerable degrees of stupidity and foolishness! They attach a name to a truth so profound and broad and unknown that only if it and its purposes and instances of wisdom were described in a hundred pages, it would be completely understood. As though it was something obvious they say: "It is this." For example, "It is some substance in the sun clashing with electricity." Furthermore, they ascribe a particular and intentional Dominical event to one of the natural laws, which are each the titles of universal and all-encompassing will and universal sovereignty, and are known as 'Divine laws'. And by doing this they sever its connection with Divine will and choice, then refer it to chance and Nature. They display an ignorance more profound than Abu Jahl. It is a rebellious foolishness like attributing the victorious battle of an individual soldier or a battalion to military regulations and discipline, and cutting its connection with the commander, king, government, and purposeful action.


Similarly, if a wonder-working craftsman produces a hundred kilos of various foodstuffs and a hundred metres of varying cloths from a chip of wood the size of fingernail, like the creation of a fruitbearing tree from a seed, and someone points to the chip of wood and declares that these things have come into being out of it 'naturally' and 'through chance', reducing to nothing the craftsman's wondrous arts and skills, what utter lunacy it would be. It is exactly the same as that....


l Seventh Question: What should be understood from this event of the earth's happening to the Muslim people of this country and being aimed at them? And why are the areas of Erzincan and Izmir affected most?


The Answer: According to the indications of many signs like this event occurring during a hard winter in the dark of night while severely cold, and its being particular to a region heedless of the respect due to the months of Ramazan, and the earthquakes continuing mildly in order to arouse the neglectful, they are aimed at and look to the believers and are shaking the earth in order to warn them to perform the prayers and their supplications, and the earth itself is shaking. There are two aspects in places like Erzincan being shaken more than other places:


One: Since its faults are few, their being purified has been brought forward.


The Second: Since there is the opportunity in places like that of strong and loyal defenders of the faith and protectors of Islam being defeated to a degree or entirely and atheists establishing an effective centre of activity, it is possible that punishment has been visited on them first. None knows the Unseen save God.


All Glory be unto You, we have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.26


* * *


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