• Q and A

    Questions and Answers from the Risale-i Nur Collection
  • 1

What Is the Essential Nature of the Human Ego?


In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

We did indeed offer the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains; but they turned away from undertaking it, being afraid thereof. But man undertook it. Indeed he has proved an unjust and ignorant one.

We point out a single gem from the vast treasure-house of meanings of the verse above:

Ego is one aspect of numerous aspects of, one way of interpreting, the trust which the heavens, the earth and the mountains were afraid to take on. Indeed, from the time of Adam up to the present, ego has been the seed of the terrible tree of Zaqqum and, at the same time, the seed of the illustrious tree of Tuba, either or both being grown from the deeds of mankind. Before proceeding to shed some light on this great truth, we offer the following introductory explanation to assist understanding:


Ego is the key to the Divine Names, which are hidden treasures

Ego is the key to the Divine Names, which are hidden treasures. It is also, being itself a mystery and a wonderful talisman, the key to the mystery of creation. When its essence is known, the mystery in it is resolved, and that in turn, discloses the mystery of creation and the treasuries of the Necessary World. I once discussed this matter in an Arabic treatise of mine called ‘Intimations’ as follows:

The key to the creation is in the hand of man and is attached to his ego. Although apparently open, the doors to creation are, in fact, closed. The All-Mighty has entrusted to man a key, which is his ego. With that key, he can open all the doors of creation and discover the hidden treasures of all being. Ego is, however, itself a mystery and an enigma and one difficult to solve. But if its true nature and the purpose of its creation are known and therefore solved, so also will be the mystery of the creation.

The All-Wise Creator entrusted man with an ego made up of clues and samples that urge and enable him to recognize the truths about the attributes and functions of the Lord of the creation. Ego is the measure created so that the qualities of Lordship and the functions of Divinity might become known by it. But it is not necessary that a measure should have actual existence. It can serve as a measure after it is posited or supposed, just like hypothetical lines in a proof in geometry: it is not necessary for it to be actually embodied or established by concrete knowledge and physical proof.


This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.