Mans [1] Struggle with Mortality and his Quest for Rediscovering God: Finding Spirituality in Generation Y.


By Mahsheed Ansari


In the post enlightenment period where God is long considered to be dead and we are the ones claimed to have killed him [2], mankind is still left unfulfilled in its battle with mortality. The search for meaning and purpose in life continues in Generation Y [3]. Even the killing of death has not resolved our battle with mortality [4]. In an era where his contemporaries were killing God, religion and even death itself, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi emerges inimitably and in an almost solo battle to defend belief, faith, religion and God.

This paper examines closely the works of Said Nursi as a case study and also as an example to understand the practical as well as philosophical dilemma that faces human kind; mortality and death. The human patterns of thought and behaviour in the modern world will be examined in comparison with Nursi’s understanding of human nature and behaviour as evidenced in his exegetical interpretation called the Risale Nur. Nursi’s unique methodology is evident in the Risale Nur as he utilizes both ontological reasoning as well as through his observances of the world and human life, to solve the dilemma of mortality [5]. Unlike his predecessors, St. Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century A.D and René Descartes of the 17th century, who sought to prove the existence of God ontologically [6], proving the existence of God was vital for Nursi who claimed that God is the answer to mortality. His methodology is evidenced in this paper especially in the 11 aspects of Divine Unity from the 20th Letter. This paper therefore hopes to resolve this battle with mortality that faces modern man, particularly in the context of Generation Y.


Defining Generation Y

In order to understand the context and the nature of “man’s” struggles with mortality, a definitional understanding of Generation Y is necessary to decipher contemporary man’s struggles and problems.

This paper assumes that every generation is different in terms of the ways in which they see the world and respond to it, each are also raised in different historical, political, economical and social circumstances. In this paper Generation Y is used widely referring to those born from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. Generation Y can also be known as Millennials, Echo Boomers or the Backpack generation [7]. They are further defined demographically and are influenced or reside in western cultures. [8]

Generation Y are often characterised as being ‘demanding, impatient and bad at communicating’, a generation of ‘individuals’ mostly self-driven [9]. They have variety and choice available to them, and are exposed to a myriad of organisations, spiritual disciplines and the world of the Internet. [10]

Research conducted in Australia and similarly in America described them as;

“Directionless, lacking community ties and meaningful participation in communal life. They prefer informal, non traditional methods of belief and fulfilment. [11]

Said Nursi understood this and claimed in the 33rd window of the 30th Word that man’s conscience looks for a point of support and assistance in the face of his innumerable aims, wants and needs. However he claimed that it was his inability and impotence in achieving them that makes him look to the necessarily Existent One for a solution. [12]

Overall, even though religion and faith are routes by which young people could find meaning, because of the diversity they are exposed to, they are often left confused, estranged, detached and lost. Thus they have no clear concept of the Divine, which leaves members of Generation Y solutionless in their battle with mortality.


Deconstructing Man in Generation Y

It is evident that young people of Generation Y are individually motivated and self-driven. In order to further understand “man’s” condition, we must deconstruct him on an individual basis and ascertain the modern characteristics of his nature.

In the world of modern man, his ‘global village’ has equipped him with the finest technology and ready availability of all types of information and knowledge at his fingertips (eg internet). He can also now easily connect with his close and distant relatives via various mediums. Yet, even with the accessibility of all these complex technologies and opportunities, mankind is still more bewildered, estranged and lonelier than ever before. This global village has thus robbed him of his own ‘village’, and parted him from his family and relatives – those who used to traditionally form the real sources of knowledge and wisdom.

Philip Hughes states and recognises that the reason for the estrangement and individualisation of our young people has come about as a result of the reduction of the family size and dissolving of the nuclear family. Focus and emphasis has thus been placed on individual and particular needs of a child rather than the family as a whole. This change he claims has been one of the greatest contributors to the individualism that pervades contemporary western culture.[13]

Nursi affirms the individualisation of our society claiming that modern western culture has made the modern man khod bin (self-centered) by placing emphasis on the ‘self’, which he claims has resulted in his inner world’s demise.[14]

‘The man who is entrapped in the self centeredness of his soul, can in no way actualize such perfection and hence cannot attain happiness at all…

The reason is that such a man due to never ending demands and desires of his soul, becomes addicted to praise, glory and fame which he claims that he deserves for the deeds without realizing the Real agent that lies beyond all these achievements’

The reality of man’s struggles in the modern world is an inner struggle. It is not just that he is left estranged and lonely in this global village; his battle is also very internal affecting his heart and mind.


Psychological State of Generation Y

Man’s inner struggle with mortality has taken a psychological turn in Generation Y.

In today’s world of Generation Y, consumerism has changed the patterns of social cohesion. An excessive and complex material lifestyle has resulted in a loss of simplicity and simple living [15]. These simple mediums have been replaced by a mechanic revolution which has de-humanised and de-personalised our world and living. Our simplicity has been tarnished by the confusion created by multifaceted and disproportionate amounts of advertising, media, entertainment, fast food outlets and other mediums which pre-occupy minds and numb sensory, emotional and cognitive faculties [16].

Additionally, people are always in a dichotomous state of mind and are constantly having an inner battle with themselves. Individuals therefore find it more difficult to differentiate between delusion and reality when searching for meaning, purpose and immortality. Thus, as a result of consumerism, the ties that bind society have changed drastically; we now deal more with machinery and technology rather than humans.

In the midst of this disparity between the world and their selves, they want and need spiritual fulfilment attained only through immortality. Channeling this innate need since modern times the ‘rational mind’ has killed God [17] nevertheless man is still left in a psychological state of confusion and uncertainty. Being overwhelmed and surrounded by multiplicity they still seek to satiate their innate need for immortality.

Dissatisfied man is seeking immortality through other avenues in his modern world. He seeks it through loved ones, a child or children, a successful career, fame, power, money or even material possessions. Thus modern man has killed God but created many new gods by himself in order to fulfil his innate desire for belonging and attachment which is the essence of worship and love of God.


Generation Y and Developed Patterns and Behaviours

One reason outlined for man’s ongoing battle with mortality in the modern context of Generation Y is, due to his inability to fulfil his need for immortality, man’s fundamental needs of belonging, significance and attachment have also been left void and unfulfilled. As expounded by behaviour management theorist Albert Adler [18], the need for belonging, significance and attachment are essential needs of human beings. Although people are naturally drawn to the good and adopt to naturally accepted norms, if these needs are not met Adler states that people turn to the negative in order to satisfy all these needs [19].

We are living in times where Generation Y and generations yet to come are raised by child care centres that cannot care enough for them; babies from a very early age are often raised with minimal or a lack of direct love, compassion and emotion from their mother and father. Thus from an early age their three essentials or needs of belonging, attachment and significance are displaced and disrupted.

A child growing in these times can be deprived of learning from knowledge sources and bases, thus in order to satisfy the most essential needs of belonging, attachment, and significance they look for substitutes. Cyberspace has become increasingly attractive [20] with many teenagers spending hours on the internet disconnecting themselves from their family and friends. Their time on the internet leaves them with limited abilities to cope with meaningful relationships later in life or leaves them open to unhealthy relationships. [21]

In doing this children seek a substitute for their real needs. This lack of direct nurturing from parents has resulted in babies losing their attachment to parents and finding as behaviour management theorist Albert Adler states other and often negative substitutes with drugs, alcohol, cults and gangs.

Statistics show that Generation Y is also characterised by their binge and excessive alcohol consumption, overuse of illegal drugs such as marijuana, meth-amphetamine and cocaine. Although these trends were also seen in Generation X, the numbers have accelerated in this generation alongside an ever increasing incident rate of self-harm behaviour, suicide attempts and deaths. [22]


Nursi on Nature of Man

Amidst this context of modern man and his struggles as mentioned, it is now necessary to examine the nature of man from the perspective of Said Nursi in order to further comprehend man’s real nature and his ultimate needs and wants.

Through the use of ontological reasoning Nursi explains the Existence of the Divine Being in order to shed light on man’s nature and his need for the immortal [23]. In the 20th Letter by presenting an argument for the existence of God, Nursi explains in a teleological fashion that the evidence of order, ease and artistry and hence design in nature which points to the existence of an Eternally Existent One [24].

It is evident from the Risale Nur that man’s essence is his spirit and man’s spirit is immortal [25]. Suffice to say that Said Nursi makes a compelling argument, stating with evidence and proof that convinces the reader that it is innate to human nature to seek and desire immortality [26]. Nursi further expounds in a logical fashion all aspects of man’s nature. He says that from the perspective of the Divine, man is created and designed for eternity. Man’s potential abilities and inner faculties point to and are designed for an eternal existence and realm. God therefore has endowed mankind with these eternal faculties and made him vicegerent on earth by giving him the supreme Trust [27]. Thus man’s inner faculties such as the heart, mind and spirit and subtle emotions of love, justice etc are designed in such a way that their purposes will not be met in this ephemeral realm of temporary existence, and therefore require a permanent eternal abode [28].

“ the subtleties inscribed in the book of man’s heart, the senses written down in the notebook of his intellect, the equipment contained in his essential character, are all turned towards Eternal Bliss they have been given to man and fashioned in accordance with this ultimate goal…for example if one servant and illustrator of the intellect called ‘the imaginative power’ is told ‘ you can have a million years of life and rule over the world, but in the end you shall become nothing’, it will react with sorrow instead of pleasure unless deemed by vain fancy and the interference of the soul. The greatest of transient things therefore cannot satisfy the smallest faculty of man…

It is then this disposition of man, his desires extending to eternity his thoughts that embrace all his thoughts that embrace all of creation and his wishes that embrace the different varieties of eternal bliss, that demonstrates he has been created for eternity. This world is like a hospice for him a waiting room for the hereafter. [29]

In the 3rd Flash Said Nursi penetrates into the essence and core of man’s nature and shows the real wants and needs of man, provides thus also a salve to his wound. Firstly he asserts that man’s nature connects him to all things therefore he nurtures love in all things and suffers at their departure. Thus, by uttering with conviction Ya Baqi Antal Baqi (The Enduring One You are The Enduring One), Nursi claims this severs all attachments to transitory things and true love for a Eternal Being envelops in the human self [30]. This ‘state’ enables man to see the stamp of transitoriness on temporal beauties and loveliness, thus Nursi claims that when uttering and calling The Enduring One man is reminded that if He exists all exists.

Further, he asserts that human nature is created for intense love and again, through the facility of imagination, Nursi shows the need for immortality, instructs the reader to see how immortality is sought in all the beloved, thus if there was no imagined immortality there would be no love or prayer for eternity [31].

According to Nursi, man who in composition is infinitely weak, in essence and in meaning however is the fruit of the tree of creation and the reason for the creation of the mystery of life and existence. However man seeks eternity because he is from the eternal. He wants, seeks and yearns for eternity, but the reality of his mortality and the inevitability of death bring pain and non fulfilment to his essence and core

As a result the non fulfilments of man’s complex and subtle inner abilities are left unused and paralysed. Man’s spirit, mind and heart suffer from atrophy. Thus as Nursi exclaims’ expensive diamonds are traded for crystals made of glass’[32].


The Biggest Wound that Hit Humanity

This wound that has affected man was brought about in the modern age by materialistic and post modern philosophy. Materialist philosophies deny or misrepresent the immortality of man’s spirit or soul, the angels and the end of the world and life of the hereafter. Although they deny these realities no reasonable alternative solution or answer is provided for the wounds that modern man has been suffering.

Materialism has a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values. Materialist Philosophy is the doctrine that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications. It is also the doctrine that consciousness and will are wholly due to material agency [33]. It is amidst this mindset that philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche, who claimed that God is dead, made existentialist claims on religion and the nature of God.

His infamous quote of the ‘death of God’ or ‘God is dead’ is found in Nietzsche’s classic work Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which is responsible for popularising the phrase. The idea is stated in "The Madman" as follows:

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? [34]

This “killing of God” as argued by Gabriel Vahanian in her book ‘ The Death of God’ has made modern secular culture lose all the sense of the sacred, lacking any sacred meaning of the Divine, with no transcendental purpose or sense of providence [35]. He concluded that for the modern mind “God is dead”. Also in Vahanian’s vision a transformed post-Christian and post-modern culture was needed to create a renewed experience of deity [36].


An Answer to Materialists and Materialistic Philosophy

Said Nursi claims that materialist thought has stupefied everyone in this age, it has been able to plant doubts in their minds concerning even the most evident matters such as the immortality of the spirit. In order to remove these doubts, Said Nursi at the conclusion of the First fundamental point of the first Aim of the 29th Word explains the reality of the material life and the importance of the spirit and spirit world or the inner world of meanings. In direct response to materialist philosophies that give ultimate prominence to the material existence world and life, [37] Nursi responds that true living and life is not material but rather that of the spirit and inner world;

As may be established empirically, matter is not essential so that existence may be made subject to it, and be dependent on it. Rather, matter subsists through a meaning, and that meaning is life, it is spirit. Also, as may be established through observation, matter is not the thing served so that everything may be ascribed to it. It is rather the servant; it renders service to the process of the perfection of a truth. And that truth is life. And the fundament of that truth is spirit [38].

He claims that; ‘An eternal beauty requires an eternal admirer that will accompany that beauty, that perfection, that mercy on the endless road to eternity; it will be immortal’ [39].

Thus materialist philosophy has reduced the noble composition of man in a reductionist way to mere matter, and made all the aims, sublime purposes of His life and noble duty only to meet certain economical and material aims and objectives, and thus robbed man of his real identity as a vicegerent and trustee of God, created in the highest composition. Thus, as stated in the Risale Nur, rather than aiding man to reach his highest peak of perfection and state of being, modern materialist forces have cut off his only hope and true source of salvation that is Almighty God, The Necessarily Existent and Eternal One.

Resultantly man has for the past few generations lived in his lowest base (animal) self, his mind and intellect have been numbed and bamboozled by the fast paced technology and preoccupied with hypnotic and excessive advertisements that are thrown at him from every media outlet on a daily basis, leaving him in a hopeless state of paralysis.

He is therefore lost, confused, bewildered, lonely and deeply hurt. All his fine composition and inner faculties have been long dead. Thus modern man’s biggest dilemma remains mortality which he witnesses every day; he sees his loved ones dying, death of plants, trees and nature and the world and finally death of himself. This is very tormenting and like a hell.

Thus, the only cure and aid for this wounded, sick and lost man is the light of belief in God as a Supreme Being alongside the high morals and purposes of religion, that would give him hope, vision, purpose, meaning and an answer to his mortality, shedding immense light into his dark desolate world.


Rediscovering God through the Light of Belief

Thus modern man should not be in a struggle, modern man should see, with evidence and proof of Existence of Divine Being of Holiness which is a salve to innumerable wounds caused to man by modern times and tyranny of extreme philosophies. The modern world is thus nurturing and breeding humans that are in a state of amnesia and personality disorders and do not have direction in life nor understand the reason for their living. Further, they are constantly hurt by the torments of living mind, heart, intellect, the pain of separation and particularly mortality and death which have expounded his wound and cut it even deeper.

The only solution and salvation for this lonely, lost, confused and melancholy man is a firm belief in the Eternally Existence One and through reconnecting to Him and rediscovering the link to immortality that is God.

Further, if true faith is embedded in his intellect and affirmed by his heart and spirit, man can be reassured that he need not struggle with mortality or death, as Said Nursi states ‘his own very spirit is immortal which connects Him directly back to God’[40]. In agreement with Nursi, Ali Unal states that the physical world, our carnal self, time and place create the thick walls of our worldly dungeon. If we remain confined within them, we can never find happiness or lead a happy life. We can find spiritual satisfaction only through belief in God Almighty and our aspiration to reach Him and thereby gain eternal happiness in the other world [41].


Nursi himself outlines the fruit of belief in God;

Belief in God is creation’s highest aim and most sublime result, and humanity’s most exalted rank is knowledge of Him. The most radiant happiness and sweetest bounty for jinn and humanity is love of God contained within knowledge of God. The human spirit’s purest joy and the human heart’s sheerest delight is spiritual ecstasy contained within love of God. All true happiness, pure joy, sweet bounties, and unclouded pleasures are contained within knowledge and love of God [42].

Being connected to a Creator the Eternal One –oozes his anguish and pains that arise from the realisation of his mortality and finiteness. According to Said Nursi man’s intellect and rational thought at this point becomes a torment for the individual who through realisation and knowledge of his impotence which expounds his dark world. Through the light and radiance of belief man is illumined; his mind, heart and soul gain light from the Eternal Light. This radiance comes as a result of his belief, trust and reliance in God. As he develops through the stages of his belief and climbs the stairs of witnessing, his essence is brought at peace as it feeds through the connection established directly to the source of The One and True Eternity God.

Nursi also outlined the benefits, descriptions of believer’s life/state of humanity whilst in belief and also state of humanity whilst in disbelief he states;

People who do not recognise their Owner and discover their Master are miserable and bewildered. But those who do, and then take refuge in His Mercy and rely on His Power, see this desolate world transformed into a place of rest and felicity, a place of exchange for the Hereafter[43].

Thus by rediscovering God with sound reasoning and proof to satisfy the bewildered mind, and by the strength of the truths of belief as outlined by Said Nursi in the 20th Letter there will be found cures and an antidotes to the wounds of the heart and spirit. Mankind today can gain true purpose, living meaning and be elevated by realising their sublime duty role and disposition and thus finding true and everlasting happiness.


Nursi uncovers the Divine Remedies providing Quick Healing

As a result of the wound opened by the materialist philosophies and the continuous battles and struggles of man as evidenced in Generation Y, an urgent and rapid remedy is needed to heal the deep wounds of modern man especially in his solo battle with mortality and his quest for finding God.

Nursi, in the 11 aspects of the 20th Letter and the following phrase, provides direct cures and antidotes for the illnesses suffered by modern man. They directly address his condition and positively meet his basic fundamental needs of belonging, attachment and significance, with the good news arising from faith and belief.

There is no god but God, One having no partner, His is the Kingdom and to Him belongs all praise; He alone gives life and makes to die; He is living and dies not; in His hand is all good. He is powerful over everything, and unto Him is the Homecoming.”

In the first station of the 20th Letter with 11 phrases Nursi makes affirmations that point to the Divine Unity which bear glad tidings to man of today, and also each cure contains spiritual pleasure. Thus belief in God raises man to the presence of the Divine by giving him a place to belong to (even if other belonging have been severed), an attachment to hold on to (other attachments caused him pain) and significance by making him the addressee and vicegerent, raised man from his lowest base self (Khod bin) nafs amarah to the high station of Khuda bin God centred making him a true human Insan.

Nursi uncovers the mystery of mortality by emphasising the need to knowing and connecting to God.


In these 11 phrases he not only directly addresses the fundamental needs of man for belonging, attachment and significance but beyond. He also addresses different ‘hals’ or states of being thus each phrase opens a window to the spirit which Nursi claims is immortal and brings it in a state or reality by connecting it to the Divine [44], and heals all illnesses of the self, they are as follows;

With the phrase “There is no god but God” la illa ha illal la an inexhaustible source of help for the human spirit is provided. This mighty phrase thus acts like a ‘connector’ attaching man to a point of support, showing and making known the Creator to him [45]. It thus saves the heart from desolation and the spirit from suffering through constant uplift and continual felicity thereby meeting all three of the basic fundamental needs in this beginning phrase.

With the phrase He is One Wahdahu an instant ability to focus and a state of unity is attained. This is most useful especially for modern man who suffers constantly from the multitude complexities of modern life that puts him in a state of confusion. Nursi explains that this confusion and an overwhelming feeling occurs because man is connected to most species in the universe ‘wahdahu’, this gives him refuge and delivers him from confusion with the assurance that God is One. To humanity this command resolves everything, for finding Him means that you obtain whatever you wish and are liberated from interminable indebtedness and innumerable fears [46].

Explaining La Hul Mulk His is the Kingdom Nursi gives a correct understanding of the individual and reality that all is owned, governed and ruled by the Almighty One, thus do not think you own yourself [47]. This phrase saves you from being over possessive. It also saves you from feeling dependant and reliant on others. As if assuring the modern man directly, Nursi concedes for man not to suffer and worry aimlessly rather to rely on His power and compassion who owns everything, thus saving ‘man’ yet again from fear of poverty, indebtedness to others, by attaining trust in Almighty, he gains immense freedom by relying on His power. As emphasised by behaviour and choice theorist William Glazer, freedom is another fundamental need freedom for man [48], which this phrase has met.

The phrase To Him Belongs all praise Wa la hul hamd Nursi claims that God is only deserving of praise, by connecting all praise and bounty to its Eternal Source, knowledge of this ‘inexhaustible treasury’ that never ceases gives great joy to the spirit and furthermore fulfils his need for significance, survival and love by reflection of this phrase man recognises the true bestower of bounty opens the doors to spiritual enjoyment and ecstasy.

With the phrase He alone gives life Yuh Yee there is again a sense of purpose and relief knowing that life is from Him and all its aims results point to Him. It also brings relief from heavy responsibilities. We are told that life comes from Him only thus by performing duty immortal life is secured, a relief for the spirit and source of great joy.

The announcement of Makes to die Yu Meet answers one of the greatest dilemmas of humans – death. Nursi relates that death is not annihilation, non-existence or eternal separation from your beloved, rather it is a discharge from this life’s duty, a change of abode from your transient home to your eternal one and a release from the burden of service to a place where you will be united with all friends, a door to union and everlasting happiness [49]. This announcement is the greatest news for the human soul that is tricked by a mind that it will be extinct upon death. It reassures man that his spirit is immortal and will thus his end will be also. This phrase alleviates the pains arising from death, loss and separation.

The phrase He is living and dies not. Whilst the last phrase gave light by exposing the real giver of death, this phrase further satiates man’s needs for immortality with the phrase ‘His Eternal life is free from any trace cessation or ephemeral worry or grieve at disappearance of the mirrors to the Divine for his manifestations and reflections are continuous thus this phrase states relieves the spirit from pains of separation, the knowledge of “He never leaves” states when you find Him, you find everything’ [50].

The phrase In His hand is all good bee yadihi khayr again takes man from being khud bin self centred. Even in acknowledgment of good actions/deeds, it puts him in place and humbles him by assuring him that only God possesses all good things and guides you to good acts and deeds. This phrase also gives hope to man by stating that all good acts will be recorded and presented lie the seeds of last spring, so too will the results of your deeds.

The phrase He is powerful over everything empowers a weak spirited individual who may feel powerless in the face of problems and overwhelmed by misuse of others exercising power over him [51]. It reminds him that anything is possible and it is as easy for the Divine Being to create the Spring as a flower.

Lastly, the phrase Unto Him is the Homecoming pronounces the reality that the end of all good, aims and purposes in life are God. By uttering wa elayhil masear modern man, who often lacks vision, foresight and feels lost and aimless in the multiplicity of life, gains the good news that all things have their end with Him [52].

This phrase answers the sighs of man who asks of his end and asks of his ultimate end. The answer given not only gives a vision and purpose but a beautiful picture of a beautiful end that at cessation of this temporary abode of examination and trial, man will be honoured with an Eternal abode and he will not be going into nothingness and dissolution but will enter the peaceful presence of the Beautiful One without any veils thus he is designed for an abode of unity and not separation [53].

Belief gives a conclusion to everything, thus whatever we live here has an end purpose and result, the end conclusion being at the court of an All Just One. Therefore true justice, forgiveness and all beautiful ends are with God hereby giving closure to man’s need for finality and foresight.

In this way Nursi’s 11 aspects of the 20th letter address the fundamental needs for mankind being belonging, attachment and significance, thus giving man an identity that he is the fruit from the tree of creation[54] and significance created in the best of forms and has immortal spirit [55]. The 11 aspects in fact go beyond and address the subtle states of man and how they can be remedied. Thus man finds a remedy to his illness in misbelief of mortality finding a true and affirmed belief in Divine One of Reality which “Everything bears a sign pointing to the fact that He is One” [Ali Bin Abi Talib]

Man reaffirms within himself that he belongs to the beautiful and merciful One and that through all things he is connected to Him. Finally, man receives a boost of self-empowerment and gains significance by knowing that he has been the ‘trustee’ and appointed vicegerent of the Almighty Creator.

The 11 aspects address the ana man’s need for immortality, establish Divine Existence and man’s connectedness to God and finally provide remedies for the psychological and emotional, behavioural and spiritual illnesses of man.



Overall this discussion attempted to argue that man’s innate, his deepest need and thus happiness is immortality. The discussion concedes that the very nature of man observed in his pattern of behaviour and multiple pursuits indicates the search for an enduring reality. With special focus given to generation Y and the complexity of this generation’s ‘global village’ environment, this paper attempted to highlight that human nature continues to want permanence and find answers to the deep questions within his heart & mind. With the case study of Risale Nur, the paper has argued that life in its universal manifestation is indicative of an Enduring Creator. Man’s answer and his healing to the many ills of his self can find recourse only in this point one of recourse as Said Nursi affirms with a compelling argument in the 20th Letter.

Nursi not only displays an honest understanding of human nature in the current context as we know it, he further demonstrates a true understanding of man’s spiritual quest for an Eternal One and he makes a fine connection between the Creator and the Creation. Only with belief in God can the heart and mind settle to its serenity. The quest, remedy, answer and destination therefore begins with the knowledge of His Necessarily Existence across every generation but especially acute for the bamboozled Generation Y.




*Ms. Mahsheed Ansari

Bachelor of Arts History, Politics & Philosophy


Diploma Legal Practice

University of Western Sydney






[1] The word or noun man has been used to refer not only to adult males but also to human beings in general, regardless of sex. I have maintained the use of this term throughout for consistency, each time it is intended to include both males and females unless otherwise stated.

[2] P. Robert, Nietzsche. "Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra" Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, University of Chicago, 2006. p. ix.

[3] Andrew Singleton; Michael Mason; Ruth Webber “Spirituality in adolescence and young adulthood”: A method for a qualitative study. Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group

[4] See Joseph Jacobs, The Dying of Death. Jacobs writes in an Article the ‘ Dying of Death’ where he talks about the practical disappearance of the thought of death as an influence directly bearing upon practical life. “ there are no skeletons at our feasts now a days”. (1899-264) See also J. A Walter. The Revival of death, Routledge, 1994 Walter posits that 1,700 books written on the topic of dying and death there has been a revival of death.

[6] St. Anselm (c. 1033–1109), English philosopher and theologian; born in Italy; Archbishop of Canterbury 1093–1109. Feast day, April 21. See Also St Anselm, Saint Anselm Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy September 2007

[7] Mark McCrindle, Understanding Generation Y, The Australian Leadership Foundation, 2004 See also

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Barbara Doherty. Generation Y and Religion, Dawns Early Light, April 12 2005

[12] Said Nursi (Translated by Sukran Vahide), 33rd Window of the 30th Words, The Words, Sozler Publications 1992

[13] Philip Hughes. Putting Life Together: Findings from Australian Youth Spirituality Research, Fairfield Press, 2007 22

[14] Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi. Islam at the Crossroads: On the Life and thought of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, State University of New York Press, 2003

[15] Mark McCrindle, Understanding Generation Y, The Australian Leadership Foundation, 2004

[16] Ibid

[17] See P. Robert, Nietzsche. "Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra" Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, University of Chicago, 2006. p. ix. Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm (1844–1900), German philosopher. He is known for repudiating Christianity’s compassion for the weak, exalting the “will to power,” and formulating the idea of the Übermensch (superman), who can rise above the restrictions of ordinary morality.

[18] Adler’s 1912 book, Über den nervösen Charakter (The Neurotic Character) defines his earlier key ideas. He argued that human personality could be explained teleologically, separate strands dominated by the guiding purpose of the individual’s unconscious self ideal to convert feelings of inferiority to superiority (or rather completeness). The desires of the self ideal were countered by social and ethical demands. If the corrective factors were disregarded and the individual over-compensated, then an inferiority complex would occur, fostering the danger of the individual becoming egocentric, power-hungry and aggressive or worse. Common therapeutic tools include the use of humor, historical instances, and paradoxical injunctions. See also Adler, A. (1956). The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York: Harper Torchbooks.

[19] Ibid

[20] See,-Computers-and-Internet&id=304743

[21] See

[22] Hughes. Putting Life Together, 2007 27

[23] Ontological studies are the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being. See also Ontology. A resource guide for philosophers

[24] Said Nursi, First Station of 20th Letter on Divine Unity The Letters (Turkey: The Light Inc, 2002) 5

[25] Said Nursi (Translated by Sukran Vahide), 29th Word, The Words, Sozler Publications 199

[26] Ibid Covering the various compelling arguments are beyond the scope and capacity of this paper however some evidence will be briefly outlined. Said Nursi in the 29th word examines in four angles or sources and proves undoubtedly the immortality of the spirit. Firstly Nursi proves subjectively and asks the reader to examine his or herself to perceive the immortality of their own spirit stating in the course of occupying the body the spirit causes the body to change considerably, yet the spirit self evidently remains constant. Thus he claims although the body is ephemeral, it does not affect the spirit’s permanence, nor spoil its nature, even though the spirit is completely naked at death. Secondly he proves objectively that it is a sort of empirical judgment which has been formed through repeated observations and numerous occurrences of events. Thus if a single spirit continues then all spirits must continue existence. So also is man’s spirit a “ commanding law”, and the spirits of the dead too dwell in the Inner and Spirit Worlds.

[27] Said Nursi (Translated by Sukran Vahide), 11 Truth of 10th Word, The Words, Sozler Publications 1992

[28] Ibid

[29] Ibid

[30] Said Nursi (Transalated by Sukran Vahide), 3rd Flash, The Flashes, Sozler Publications 1992

[31] Ibid

[32] Said Nursi (Translated by Sukran Vahide), Sixth Word, The Words, Sozler Publications 1992 39

[33] Philosopher Mary Midgley [23], among others [24][25][26], argues that materialism is a self-refuting idea, at least in its eliminative form. While some critics hold that matter is an ill-defined concept, it is not clear that substitutes, such as Spirit, or Hegelian Geist fare any better See Also Routledge Encyclopedia of philosophy and Oxford Dictionary

[34] P. Robert, Nietzsche. "Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra" Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, University of Chicago, 2006. p. ix.

[35] Gabriel Vahanian. The Death of God: The Culture of Our Post-Christian Era, New York Times: Braziller, 1961

[36] Ibid

[37] Nursi 29th Word, The Words, 1992 541

[38] Ibid 542

[39] Said Nursi. (Translated by Sukran Vahide), Traveling towards Eternity, Mega Basim Istanbul, 2003 219

[40] Ibid 29th Word 1992 533

[41] Ali Unal ‘Humanity between the fall and ascension’: Islam and contemporary Issues The Light Inc, 2006 130

[42] Ibid Nursi, Introduction of the 20th Letter, The Letters, 2002 3

[43] Ibid

[44] Ibid 29th Word 2nd Aim Words 1992 561

[45] Ibid 20th Letter 2002 9

[46] Ibid 9

[47] Ibid

[48] Glazer William – See Dr. C. George Boeree Personality Theorists; Alfred Adler and Others, 1965

[49] Ibid 20th Letter 2002

[50] Ibid


[52] Ibid

[53] Ibid

[54] Ibn Sina (980-1037): Persian physician, the most famous and influential philosopher – scientist of Islam. He was particularly noted for his contributions in the fields of Aristotelian philosophy and medicine.

[55] 23rd Word Words 1992 319