A Life Renewed and Nurtured by the Risale-i Nur
By Salvy Nualda Niones
Before I met the Risale-i Nur Collection, I thought my life was already the kind of life I wanted to live. My heart was full of worldly desires, I wanted to be rich, richer than Bill Gates. I wanted to buy everything I want licit or illicit as long as it makes me happy. I didn’t care for the feelings of other people as long I got satisfied. My family thought I was a very good daughter, but without their knowledge I am the black sheep in our family.
I had traumatic experience that made me abhor certain people. My heart was full of hatred and revenge for almost ten years, dreaming only of my sweet revenge. Although my mother raised me as a practicing Christian, all the prayers I memorized reached only the tip of my tongue. I easily forgot the essence of the prayers I learned during my childhood. I only remembered God when I have problems and need His help. I stopped going to church because for me the priest was lecturing the same thing always. At confession, even though the priest was saying my sins were forgiven, I was filled with doubts if Im realy forgiven by God. I was going to church just to please my teachers and family.
I wanted to be free, I wanted to do what I wanted because I believe I owned my life. I wanted people to see I’m strong and I hated people saying don’t do this, don’t do that. Whenever they say are you crazy? Why are you doing this thing etc? The more I wanted them to see how crazy I am. My motto in life before was, “As long as I am alive I will enjoy my life to the fullest”. Until I met Risale-i Nur… the first time I read Sincerity and Brotherhood all the principles and rules I adhered in life suddenly changed. Especially when I read this verse:
“In the Name of God, The Merciful The Compassionate. Those who suppress their anger and forgive people- verily God loves those who do good” (3:134).
“In the Name of God, The Merciful The Compassionate. Indeed we have created man on the most excellent patterns,*Then sent him down to the lowest of the low,* Except those who believe and do good deeds.” (95:4-6).
I couldn’t understand what I was feeling. I told myself, whatever I read from this books I better forget it, I don’t want to think about it anymore. The more I don’t want to think about it the more it kept filling my mind, making me think of nothing else. Because of my pride I didn’t want to admit that what I read in the book was true. I kept on struggling with my evil commanding soul until I shared my thoughts to Sally abla. She told me that Allah is the best giver of justice, if justice couldn’t be achieved in this world surely Allah will grant it in the afterlife. I decided to stop thinking of my revenge and decided to continue my readings.
This time I read about the wisdom of the five daily prayers, making me see how religious Muslims are. I started praying before sleeping and thanking God after I woke-up. After the ders given on Ramadhan Thanks and Frugality I decided to perform fasting with them. On laylatul Qadr, I made my shahada without informing my family. When my family knew about it, they got very angry especially nun sister. I didn’t know what to do because they wanted me to stop seeing my Muslim friends and they wanted me to go back home. The first Muslim brother whom I met kept on telling me to trust Allah, Allah will help me. Alhamdulillah! Indeed Allah helped me and now my family already accepted me as their Muslim daughter.
After few months, I decided to stay in Marawi dersane and I enrolled at Mindanao State university (MSU) taking AB-Islamic Studies, Alhamdulillah! Reading Risale- i Nur helped me a lot. Staying in dersane is the most enjoyable and sweetest thing in my life. I feel the true essence of true sisterhood in Islam in dersane. I learned many things like extending my patience and loving my sisters for Allah’s sake. I learned how to forget and forgive, admit my faults and ask forgiveness. I realized that Allah is the Most Merciful and Most Forgiving, as a human being how can I not forgive? I saw the reason why it’s hard for me to forgive and see my mistakes because of my pride.
I was very ashamed when I read this sentence:
“A human being is not worthy to be called human if he doesn’t know how to give thanks to his Creator”. Or I learned to count my blessings in life and to be thankful to Allah (swt). I lost many friends whom I thought were my true friends but Alhamdulillah, Allah gave me more true and sincere brothers and sisters in Islam. I am far from my family but Alhamdulillah! Allah gave me new and larger family in Islam who love and care for me for Allah’s sake.
When I read in the Letters about the compassion and sacrifices of the parents for their children I was very ashamed that I did not appreciate the care and love of my parents for me especially my mother. My love for my parents increased when I learned how to love and care the creation for the sake of Creator. Through my readings of Risale-i Nur Collection all my questions in life was answered. Before, I didn’t know what was the purpose of my life and what I wanted to do in life. After I read Risale-i Nur Collection and knowing the purpose of my life I asked forgiveness and gave thanks to Allah for giving me another chance to live. I suddenly realized how valuable time is, I wasted my twenty-four pieces of gold into nothing. Through the light of Risale-i Nur and the Qur’an the road of darkness which I was walking suddenly illuminated and changed its course. Now that I know what is the purpose of my life I only want to serve my Creator. Insha’Allah through the classes that I teach and through our outreach programs, I want other people to see the beauty of Islam. Same goes with my family and those people who I led to the wrong way because of my wrong doings. I am very thankful to my Creator, Who guided me to His true religion (Islam) and those people who became an instrument for me to see the right path. Praise be to Allah for the religion of Islam and perfect belief.
Salvy Nualda Niones/ Philippines
Note: This letter has been originally published on the “Risale-i Nur Institute of Philippines Lahika Connections” journal, February 2011 issue.