Why does many people follow Satan?
QUESTION: You have pointed out in the Indications above that since the way of misguidance is easy and is a way of destruction and unrestraint, many have taken that way. Whereas, in some other parts of the Risale-i Nur, you have convincingly explained that the way of unbelief and misguidance is so difficult and troublesome that no one would take it; that it is a way impossible to follow and that the way of belief and right guidance is so easy and clear that everyone should have taken it.
THE ANSWER: There are two types of unbelief and misguidance. One sort pertains to actions and is of a secondary degree, or particular. That is, it negates the articles of faith or is a non-acceptance of the truth. This way of misguidance is easy to take and accordingly has been shown in the Risale-i Nur as being easy.
The second sort of unbelief and misguidance is a judgment or conclusion of the heart and mind. It does not only comprise negation of belief but opens up a way opposed to belief. This means acceptance of falsehood and the willful admission of the opposite of the truth. It is not non-acceptance so that it should be easy, but the acceptance of non-existence, and can only be accepted by proving non-existence. According to the rule, “Non-acceptance cannot be proved,” it is evidently not easy to prove it.
It is this sort of unbelief and misguidance which is shown in some other parts of the Risale-i Nur to be so difficult and troublesome as to be almost impossible to accept and follow. Anyone with the slightest consciousness would not follow such a way. Furthermore, as convincingly explained in the Risale-i Nur, this way entails such terrible pains and is so full of suffocating darkness that anyone with the least intelligence would not desire or attempt to follow it.
QUESTION: How, then, can the majority of people take such a painful, dark, and troublesome way?
THE ANSWER: They have fallen into it and cannot extricate themselves. In addition, since the vegetable and animal powers in humanity cannot see the final results of their choices and deeds, a lack of reasoning and due consideration dominates over human faculties, so they do not want to get out and console themselves with a temporary, readily available pleasure.
QUESTION: There is such dreadful pain and fright in misguidance that an unbeliever, not only cannot receive pleasure from life but they must even not be able to live. They must be crushed by that pain and nearly die of that fright. For while, because they are human, they have innumerable desires and are deeply attached to life, how can one who, because of unbelief, sees death as an eternal separation and non-existence, and always witnesses living beings perishing and those they love going into everlasting “non-existence” through death, continue to live? How can they receive pleasure from life?
THE ANSWER: They deceive themselves through a very strange satanic sophistry, and continue to live. They suppose that they are receiving pleasure. I will indicate their condition by way of a well-known parable.
It is related that they said to the ostrich, “You’ve got wings, so fly!” But it folded its wings and said, “I’m a camel,” and did not fly. So it fell into the hunter’s trap. In order that the hunter would not see it, the ostrich stuck its head into the dust. Having left its huge body in the open, it made itself a target for the hunter. Whereupon, they said to it, “You say you are a camel, so carry loads!” But it chose to unfold its wings and answered, “I’m a bird,” and was saved from the trouble of carrying loads. In the end, it was left without both food and protector, and the hunter took it away.
In the same way, in the face of the Qur’an’s heavenly proclamations, absolute unbelief has mostly changed to skepticism. So, if they are told, “You think death is eternal non-existence. The gallows, on which you think you will be sent to non-existence, stand before your eyes. How can one who constantly sees them before their eyes receive pleasure from life?” Due to the portion which they have received from the Qur’an’s universal mercy and all-encompassing light, they will reply, “Death is not eternal extinction. There may be an everlasting life.” Or like an ostrich, they plunge their heads into the sand of heedlessness so that the appointed hour of death may not spot them, nor may the grave stare at them, nor may the decay of things fire arrows at them.
In short, like an ostrich, when due to their skepticism they see death to be eternal non-existence, the decisive proclamations of the Qur’an and other heavenly books that are concerned with the afterlife provide a chance for the unbelievers, and to this they hold fast. This saves them from always feeling the dread of death and eternal non-existence. If it is then said to them, “Since we are bound to go to an everlasting realm, we should bear the difficulties of the religious obligations here so that we may have a good life there,” their skepticism causes them to reply, “Maybe there is no such a realm, so why should I work for something which does not exist?” As they feel saved from the pains of eternal extinction thanks to the probability of permanence provided by the Qur’an, they also feel saved from the difficulties of carrying out the religious obligations due to the probability of the non-existence of an eternal life afforded by skeptical unbelief. Thus, from their perspective, unbelievers suppose they receive more pleasure from this life than believers. However, the idea generated by this satanic sophistry is extremely superficial, unbeneficial, and temporary.
Thus, the wise Qur’an contains some sort of mercy for the unbelievers also, as it saves them, to a certain extent, from the life of this world turning into Hell for them. It provides for them a kind of doubt through which they can continue to live. Otherwise, they would suffer a Hellish spiritual suffering in this world, and it would be a living Hell which would eventually drive them to suicide.
So, O people of belief! With full confidence and belief, enter under the protection of the Qur’an, which saves you from the feeling and supposition of eternal extinction, and the hells of this world and the Hereafter. Also, enter the fold of the elevated Sunna with full submission and appreciation, and be saved from misery in this world and punishment in the Hereafter!