O my wretched soul, sunk in heedlessness, which sees this life as sweet and, in oblivion of the Hereafter, seeks it only. Do you know what you resemble? An ostrich! It sees the hunter, but cannot escape by flight, so sticks its head in the sand so that the hunter may not see it. However, its huge body remains in the open, so the hunter does see it. Only, its eyes are closed in the sand, and it cannot see him.
O my soul, consider the following comparison, and understand the reality!
Considering only this world changes a great pleasure into a grievous pain. Suppose there are two men in this village. Ninety-nine out of every hundred of the friends of one of them have immigrated to Istanbul, where they are living happily. Only one has remained here, and he too will go there. For this reason, the man longs for Istanbul and thinks of it; he desires to join his friends. When he is told that he can go there too, he will be overjoyed and go happily. As for the second man, ninety-nine out of every hundred of his friends have departed from here. He thinks that some of them have perished and the others have entered places where they neither see nor are seen. He imagines that they have all gone to utter misery. This hopeless man seeks consolation in the friendship of the single remaining friend who is also about to go. He wants to compensate for the heavy pangs of separation through him.
O my soul! God’s Beloved above all, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), but also all your friends are on the other side of the grave. One or two remain here, but they too will depart for there. So do not be afraid of death, fearful of the grave, nor avert your attention from it! Look at the grave bravely, and listen to what it seeks. Laugh in the face of death manfully, and see what it wants. Beware, do not be heedless and resemble the second man.
O my soul! Do not say, “The times have changed, this age is different, everyone is plunged into this world and adores this life. Everyone is openly committed to the struggle for livelihood.” But death does not change; separations do not end and become eternal unions, nor become eternal companionships. Man’s intrinsic impotence and poverty do not change, rather they increase. Man’s journey (from the World of Spirits to the Hereafter through this world and the grave) is not cut, it becomes faster.
Also, do not say, “I am like everyone else.” For everyone befriends you only as far as the grave. The consolation coming from sharing the same misfortune with everyone else will be of no benefit to you on the other side of the grave.
Also, do not suppose yourself to be free and independent. For if you look at this guest-house of the world with the eye of wisdom, you will see that nothing is without order and without purpose. How then can you be left to yourself outside the order and without purpose? Know that events in the universe like earthquakes are not random games of chance.
You see that, for example, the earth is made to wear extremely well-designed and finely embroidered clothes, one over the other, one within the other, with the variety of species of animals and plants adorned and decked out from top to bottom with very important purposes. Also you know that the earth revolves like an ecstatic Mawlawi dervish in perfect order for most exalted aims. The recent earthquake may be understood as the earth’s shaking off itself the weight of certain forms of heedlessness of which it disapproves in mankind, and especially from the believers. How is it, then, that there are people who suppose the essential, death-bringing events in the earth like the earthquake to be without purpose and the result of chance? How is it that there are people who, by showing the grievous losses of all those affected by such events as unrecompensed, as having gone for nothing, they so throw them into a dreadful despair? Such people are committing both a great error and a great wrong.
Such events happen at the command of One All-Wise and All-Compassionate, in order that the worldly property of the believers which has been lost because of them might become as worthy of reward as alms and thereby gain permanence. That loss is also an atonement for the sins arising from ingratitude for Divine bounties.
A day will come when this subjugated earth will see the works of mankind, which adorn its face, to be tainted with associating partners with God and devoid of necessary gratitude: it will disapprove them. Finally, at the Creator’s command, it will wipe them off its entire face and cleanse it. At God’s command, it will pour those who associate partners with God into Hell, and say to the thankful, “Come and enter Paradise!”
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.