How Muslims came to be dominated
Said Nursi explained the Ottoman collapse and subsequent Western domination of the Muslim world in the following terms in his Sunuhat (Occurrences to the Herat) and Lemeat (Gleams of Truth):
The calamity was the calamity of all humankind. The common cause, inclusive of all humankind, was the misguided thinking that arose from materialism – bestial freedom, the despotism of carnal desires and fancies. Our share in it resulted from our neglect and abandonment of the pillars of Islam. For the Creator the All-Exalted wanted one hour out of the twenty-four.
He ordered us, willed that we, for our good, assign one hour for the five daily Prayers. But out of laziness we gave them up, neglected them in heedlessness. So we received the following punishment: He made us perform Prayers of a sort during these last five years through a constant, twenty-four hour drill and hardship, keeping us ceaselessly moving and striving. He also demanded of us one month a year for fasting, but we pitied our carnal souls, so in atonement He compelled us to fast for five years. He wanted us to pay as Zakah either a fortieth or a tenth of the property He gave us, but out of miserliness we did wrong: we mixed the unlawful with our property, and did not give the Zakah voluntarily. So He had our accumulated Zakah taken from us, and saved us from what was unlawful in our property. The deed causes the punishment of its kind. The punishment is of the same as the deed. The neglect of the Hajj and its wisdom drew not calamity, but Divine Wrath, and the punishment it incurred was not atonement for our sins but an increase in our sins. It was the neglect of the elevated Islamic policy, which exists in the Hajj and brings unity of views through mutual acquaintance and cooperation through mutual assistance, and it was neglect of the vast social benefits contained in the Hajj which have prepared the ground for the enemy to employ millions of Muslims against Islam... Instead of hastening to the Hajj eagerly, which is pure good, millions of Muslims have been made to make long journeys under the enemy flag, which is pure evil. Ponder on this and take heed! (Gleams of Truth, pp. 47, 48)
Said Nursi also writes:
Friend! A questioner once asked: “As ‘The truth prevails’ is the truth, why are the unbelievers triumphant over Muslims and force or might is triumphant over right?”
I replied: Consider these four points and your difficulty will be resolved:
The first point is this. Every means to every truth and right may not be true and rightful at all times. Similarly, not every means of every falsehood has to be false. The result is a means which (falsehood employs and) is true prevailing over a false means (which truth or right uses). In which case, a truth is overcome by falsehood. But this has occurred temporarily and indirectly, not essentially or permanently. However, the final triumph is always that of the truth. (It should also not be forgotten that) force possesses a truth, and there is a purpose and meaning in its creation.
The second point is this: While it is obligatory that all attributes of all Muslims are Muslim, in reality this may not always be so. Similarly, not all the attributes of all unbelievers have to be connected to unbelieving or arise from their unbelief. In the same way, all the attributes of all sinful transgressors may not be sinful, nor do they need always arise from sinfulness.
This means that an unbeliever’s Muslim attribute prevails over a Muslim’s irreligious attribute. Indirectly and due to the means, the unbeliever can prevail over the believer. Furthermore, in this world the right of life is all-embracing. Life—that meaningful manifestation of the universal Mercy—has an instance of wisdom, which unbelief cannot impede.
The third point is this: two of the All-Majestic One’s Attributes of perfection give rise to two sets of laws. One is the Shari‘a of life or of the creation and operation of the universe, which proceeds from the Attribute of Will; and the other, the well-known Shari‘a, which proceeds from the Attribute of Speech. Just as the commands or laws of the well-known Shari‘a are obeyed or disobeyed, so too do people obey or disobey the Shari‘a of life. The reward and punishment for the former is received mostly in the Hereafter, while the penalties and rewards of the latter are suffered mostly in this world. For example, the reward of patience is success, while the penalty for laziness is privation; and the reward of labor is wealth. The reward of steadfastness is triumph. The punishment of poison is illness and the reward of its antidote is health. Sometimes the commands of both Shari‘as are in force in a single thing; it has aspects pertaining to each. That means, obedience to the rules of life is a truth, and obedience prevails, while disobedience to it is a false attitude. If a truth has been the means to a falsehood, when it prevails it will be the true means to a falsehood. This is an example of truth being defeated by a falsehood owing to the means. It is not the defeat of the truth itself by falsehood. In consequence, “The truth prevails” means: “The truth is triumphant essentially or in it-self.” Also, the end or consequence is intended.
The fourth point is this: a truth has remained in potential or it is powerless, or adulterated or contaminated. It needs to be developed or given fresh strength. In order to improve and brighten it, falsehood is temporarily allowed to attack it, so that however much pure gold of truth is needed will emerge unadulterated. Even if in the beginning falsehood is victorious in this world, it cannot win the war. “The final (happy) outcome is in favor of the God-revering, pious,” will strike it a blow! So falsehood is defeated. The truth of “The truth prevails” inflicts punishment on it. See: the truth is triumphant. (Gleams of Truth, pp. 69-70)