Final Moments of a Departing Reformer: Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
By Mohammed Asim Alavi
(Editor of the Trend Magazine)
I am going to die……………!
I will die in few hours !!
I came here to die………You know that ? !
Some thought that this old man had lost his senses and was talking out of his mind; some even would have thought he is insane, a common accusation levelled against almost all the Prophets.
The policeman who came to deliver a strict order found himself aghast, though he did not show any signs of slackness in his posture. He had to borrow enough courage to proclaim his ‘order’, he said:
‘ …..you have been ordered to vacate Urfa immediately and return to Isparta as you came; It’s a non-negotiable order from above, from the Minister of Interior himself !!
…….‘How astonishing is your order’ !? I never came here to return anywhere; I came here to die and I will die soon; don’t you see my condition now? How frail I am? ……… came the reply from the reformer (Mucettit)
Turning towards his disciples, he said:
‘Could you please explain my present condition to this policeman?’
The thunder stricken policeman could not understand the meaning of what the reformer was talking about. Woe to him! Had he realized that he was talking to a person whose only profession in this world was defending the religion of the Lord of the universe, the Creator of all living beings, including the policeman himself, his heart would have softened; Had he realized that by not disturbing the reformer he would gain the pleasure of his Lord, he would have kept away from delivering the ‘order’. By not delivering the order he would certainly earn the wrath of his ‘ Minister of Interior’, and loose the perks and other worldly benefits. However, his mind was so narrow that it could not grasp the everlasting bounties that await him in the hereafter.
But, instead, his obstinacy increased; his heart refused to moist.
Human heart can be sealed and made harder than rocks.
The Qur’an describes some human hearts as follow:
But even after seeing these Signs your hearts hardened and became as hard as rocks; nay, even harder than rocks. For there are some rocks out of which springs gush forth, and others which split open, and water issues out of them; then there are some which tumble down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you are doing. (Al Baqarah: 74)
Sensing that the reformer would not budge an inch, he turned his attention towards the disciples who were surrounding their ‘Ustaz’ like bees surround their king in the hive.
They are not ordinary ‘students’, but companions responded to the call of the reformer for the defence of Allah’s religion; They are intoxicated with the sober tenets of Iman like the unbelievers intoxicated with the worldly pleasures. The policeman failed to understand that he was in the midst of a highly motivated brigade, bonded to each other by the bond of Iman, ready to sacrifice their belongings and lives for Allah, by just a blink of an eye of their ‘Ustaz’. Their brigade was cemented with molten lead.
They love Allah and Allah loves them, as the Qur’an says:
Allah indeed loves those who fight in His Way as though they are a solid wall cemented with molten lead. (As Saff: 4)
The policeman’s sight hopped back and forth between the reformer and his disciples, unable to stabilize in one spot.
………….‘Sir! You are in a wrong place’ this is a place where threats, intimidations, blackmailing will not work,…………. we are in a long and arduous journey…….. none can stop us….. we will keep going until we achieve victory or we perish in the way of Allah – ‘you are in a wrong place, sir!!
This was the message the policeman’s eyes absorbed from those faces waiting to give farewell to their ‘Ustaz’.
Yes, the policeman’s calculations were wrong. He felt that pulling a huge boulder would be easier than subduing these ‘lowest folks of the society’. As a last resort, in a fiery voice, he ordered the disciples to be summoned in the police station without any delay.
The reformer’s arrival in Urfa, together with the bullying of the police department, created a tense atmosphere in the area. As the news of reformer’s arrival spread across like Australian wildfire, enthusiastic people from all walks of life began encroaching the hotel where the departing he was camping.
On the other side…………
A group of steel willed disciples were present in the police station, not to plead for help, but to convey the ‘non-negotiable’ stance of their ‘Ustaz’
………Why you came to Urfa…… who gave you permission to leave Isparta? asked the head of the police department from. ‘ We have received stringent order from the highest command to repatriate all of you, including your Ustaz back to Isparta; if you do not have any means of transport we will arrange an ambulance for your travel……….’ the head further added.
….it’s possible only if our ‘Ustaz’ consent to going back; we shall simply carry out his ‘order’ without argument, that’s it !! Further, he his critically ill and cannot bear the discomfort of another twenty four hour journey….
………..No way, we will never interfere in his affairs, but if you want, you can try to persuade him. If he orders us we will leave with him…..’, the disciples answered.
Head of the police put his head down out of shame as he could not control his emotions. He never expected that the ‘meanest folks of the society’, like the comrades of Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him), would show such a strong defiance in front of the ‘order’ of the country’s interior minister.
‘…..what you mean by that……..? Can’t you convey to your Ustaz the order of interior minister, who is responsible for the law and security of the whole country….? if you are so attached with your Ustaz, be informed, I am even more attached with my leaders; I shall give two hours time for all of you to pack and vacate Urfa……….‘ retorted the angry officer.
He was in a fighting mood and was expecting to jump to the fray for a wrestling. Relying on the power of his government and the lethal weapons his department possesses, his determination to clear Urfa of this ‘ evil preacher and his disciples’ had increased.
But for the disciples, they knew well that Allah is the Greatest of all rulers ( At Teen: 8). They did not lose their cool, because it was not in their nature; that was how their Ustaz nurtured them. Patience and use of wisdom were their hallmarks. They were trained in the Medressetun Nuriye on how to deal gently with people and carry out their mission through persuasion, not by force, as it is against the basic principles of the Qur’an.
There is no compulsion and coercion in regard to religion. The right thing has been made distinct from the wrong thing. (Al Baqarah: 256)
They, on the contrary, prepared themselves for a confrontation with the police department, not by means of violence, as they knew that violence breeds more violence. Rather by means of wisdom and beautiful preaching. They got down a medical report from the nearby government hospital, which, without any shadow of doubt, proved that their Ustaz’s health condition did not allow him to move anywhere.
This ‘commando operation’ took the entire police department unawares. The infuriated department began searching other ways to repatriate the group back to Isparta.
The head of the department along with a contingent of arm wielding officers rushed towards the hotel where the reformer was staying.
‘Sir, the ‘order’ is very clear, you must return to Isparta’,
The reformer looking at the face of the officer, in a calm but assertive tone, said: ‘ I am in the final moments of my life, unable to return to anywhere. I will die here. Your responsibility now is to arrange water to wash my body…..’!!!
This feeble but bold and magnetic assertion pierced and shattered the officer’s heart into pieces. He felt he was losing the battle and found that no way out for him except conceding defeat. The police contingent with its leader, bowing their heads down, left the hotel.
Planning of one’s death is in the hands of Allah, not any human being.
The reformer now was in the most joyous moment of his life. His thoughts were thrilled and were full of excitement about the ensuing moments. After completing the mission of serving the Qur’an that he inherited from the Prophets, he was about to commence his life of Alam Al Barzakh(Intermediate realm). He was so unusual in his mood that he hugged and embraced each and every visitor who came to see him off, which was quite contrary to his normal practices, according to his disciples.
As the sun set and night fell, the disciples were not able to control their emotions and their eyes were flowing down tears. Although they were well aware of the inevitability of death, their minds were not prepared to accept the departure of their beloved Ustaz. How can they? Their love for him was not for decaying worldly benefits, so that with the demise of their Ustaz everything will be long forgotten. The grief-stricken disciples were on a round-the-clock watch about the health situation of their Ustaz. It was around 2.30 am in the wee hours that one of them ventured into checking the pulse, found that their Ustaz’s temperature was normalizing. When he informed others of this little improvement, everyone proclaimed ‘Alhamdulillah’. Contended and relieved they went to bed.
Came the time for Fajr (Dawn prayers) they waited for their Imam to lead them in Salat, but to no avail !!
Imam Bediuzzaman Said Nursi breathed his last that night. It was 23rd March 1960. The brave defender and guardian of the Qur’an, the bearer of the light of the Qur’an had departed to his beloved Lord.
“O serene soul! Return to your Lord well-pleased (with your blissful destination), well-pleasing (to your Lord). So enter among My (righteous) servants and enter My Paradise. (Al Fajr: 27-30)