A look at the contents of The Gleams shows that in accordance with the Qur’anic way described above, it proves and explains the main truths of belief. At the same time, it answers atheists’ criticisms of these truths and of Qur’anic verses. Examples of this are parts of the Twelfth, Fourteenth, and Sixteenth Gleams, which were written in reply to questions put to Bediüzzaman by his students. Others of the Gleams, particularly the Twenty-Third, the celebrated Treatise on Nature, and in the Sixth Point of the Thirtieth, the discussion on Divine Self-Subsistence, refute in readily understandable manner naturalist and materialist philosophy.
In the face of attempts to substitute Islam with such philosophy and the innovations that accompanied these attempts, Bediüzzaman’s stress on adherence to the Practices (Sunna) of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, may be seen notably in the Eleventh Gleam, and his solving of one of the chief points of conflict between the Sunnis and Shi’a in the Fourth—the question of “the Imamate.”
The First and Second Gleams are a powerful reinforcement for faith in that they address and answer clearly one of the key questions of monotheism, that is, the true wisdom and purpose in the creation of suffering and apparent evil. Bediüzzaman moves from a simple recounting of the tales of Jonah and Job onto the inner meaning and significance of these stories and the correct attitudes and conduct to adopt when encountering suffering and tribulation in this life. The third Gleam describes how God has equipped humans with the capacity for love and the longing for eternity and how human experience of the mysteries of time is a sign of the reality of the Everlasting One and the Afterlife.
The Gleams is distinguished from the first two volumes (The Words and The Letters) of the Risale-i Nur in so far as it considers social effects of belief to a greater extent. For example, the Twentieth Gleam, On Sincerity, demonstrates that sincerity is the means of healing the divisions in society and achieving union. The Nineteenth encourages the important Islamic principle of frugality, of which Bediüzzaman himself was the finest example. The Twenty-Fifth addresses the sick, and the Twenty-Sixth, the elderly. These two Gleams are full of sincere and warm condolences for the sick and elderly.
In addition to this, it may be noted that in the Sixth Section of the Twenty-Ninth Letter, Bediüzzaman points out that of the six main sections of society, irreligion can offer only a superficial and temporary happiness to the youth. For the sick, the elderly, the weak and the poor, the children and the pious it can offer nothing. Thus, on being moved to the more populous centre of Isparta, he wrote the above-mentioned parts of The Gleams, demonstrating how true belief and Islam answer the needs of all sections of society, affording true happiness both in this world and the next.
The Twenty-Eighth Gleam, short pieces on various topics, throw important light on Qur’anic verses, the Twenty-Ninth illustrates the essence of the way of the Risale-i Nur—reflective thought, and the Thirtieth, another treatise of the greatest importance, expounds the Six Divine Greatest Names, or six Divine Names with all-encompassing manifestations.
Despite being written under particular constraints and in particular conditions, the Risale-i Nur and the present work expound a universal Qur’anic way and deal with universal problems in a manner that addresses the needs of contemporary humankind. This may be seen as the reason for its continued spread and acceptance within Turkey and throughout the world.