Left without a support on which to build his misguidance and atheism the representative of the misguided reveals his real intention, saying:
The real nature of atheism
‘Since I seek the pleasure and happiness of the worldly life, advancement in civilization and perfection of art in denial of God, not heeding the Hereafter, love of the world, being free to live however I wish and self-assertiveness, I have drawn most people onto this path through the help of Satan, and continue to do so.’
I say in the name of the Qur’an:
O helpless man! Come to yourself! Do not listen to the representative of the misguided. If you listen to him, you will suffer such a great loss that imagining it causes the spirit, mind and heart to shudder. There are two paths before you:
Two paths before man
One is the path to which the representative of the misguided points and it is a path full of dangers.
The other is the one which the wise Qur’an describes and it is a path that brings happiness. You have already seen many comparisons between these two paths in The Words, primarily in the first nine short ones. Now heed only one among a thousand, which befits the occasion.
The path of misguidance, and associating partners with God and of dissipation and transgression of Divine Commands, causes man to fall to bottomless depths of degradation, and loads an unbearable burden onto his weak back and his heart with boundless sorrows. For if a man does not recognize Almighty God and put his trust in Him, he becomes like an extremely weak and impotent and an infinitely poor and destitute animal, a mortal afflicted with pains and grieves and subject to countless calamities. Throughout his life he suffers incessantly from separations from the things which he loves and has had connections with, and leaving his friends and relatives remaining in life in pains of separation, he enters into the dark depths of the grave alone.
Also, he struggles in vain, with a limited will, little power, a short life-span and a dull mind, against infinite pains and ambitions. He strives to realize his countless desires and goals without any considerable result. While he is unable to bear the burden of his own being, he loads his miserable mind and back with the tremendous burden of the world. Before going to Hell, he suffers the torments of Hell.
In order to be able to endure that sort of painful spiritual torment, a misguided one leads himself to the drunkenness of heedlessness as some sort of anaesthesia. However, when he has approached the grave, he begins to feel it most acutely. For since he has refused to become a true servant to Almighty God, he supposes himself to be the owner of his self. Whereas he is unable to govern his being in this tumultuous world with his limited free will and insignificant power and encounters numerous enemies from harmful microbes to earthquakes ready to attack him. In painful fear and terror he looks to the door of the grave, which always appears terrifying to him.
Furthermore, on account of being human, he is related to humankind and the whole of the world. But since he does not believe the world and mankind to be at the disposal of the One Who is All-Wise, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Compassion-ate, and All-Munificent, and attributes their existence and lives to chance and nature, the fearful events of the world and the conditions and experiences of mankind always trouble him. Together with his own pains, he also suffers from the troubles of other creatures. The convulsions, earthquakes, plagues, calamities, deaths and famines, which visit the world, inflict upon him unbearable torments.
A man in this position does not deserve mercy and affection for it is himself who throws himself into such a terrible state. As is pointed out in The Eighth Word, comparing the states of the two brothers who happened to fall into wells, if a man who, not content with an agreeable and lawful enjoyment and entertainment in a fine banquet among honest friends in a beautiful garden, has become drunk with foul wine for the sake of a disagreeable pleasure, imagines himself to be surrounded by wild beasts in a dirty place on a winter day and begins to tremble and cry in fear, he will not deserve pity. For he is imagining his honest friends to be wild beasts and insulting them, and supposing the delicious foods as foul and the clean, fine plates and bowls as worthless, dirty stones, is breaking whatever he touches, and judging the invaluable meaningful books which have been brought to read and study to be ordinary meaningless collections of sheets, is tearing them up and throwing them around. Rather than compassion and pity, such a man deserves punishment.
Similarly, since through the drunkenness of unbelief and insanity of misguidance arising from the abuse of will-power, a man asserts that the All-Wise Maker’s guest-house of the world is a plaything of chance and nature, and that the transference of beings to the world of the Unseen after each has completed its duty of refreshing the manifestations of the Divine Names is going into absolute non-existence; since he judges the glorifications of beings and their recitations of the Divine Names to be outcries of deaths and eternal separations, and those sheets of creatures which are each a missive of the Eternally Besought-of-All to be confused, meaningless collections; since he sees the door of the grave, which is opened on the world of mercy, as the opening of a dark world of non-existence and death (while it is in fact an invitation to re-union with friends and beloved ones), as absolute separation from all friends and beloved ones; he makes himself subject to alterable and painful torment, and since he denies, rejects and insults both creatures and the Divine Names and His inscriptions and missives, he in no way deserves pity and compassion, rather he deserves a severe punishment.
Do science and technology compensate for the darkness of death?
So, O unfortunate people of misguidance and dissipation! Which progress and evolution of yours and which sciences, which technology and civilization of yours can compensate for such a terrible loss and collapse and crushing hopelessness? Where can you find the true consolation which the human spirit needs first of all and most urgently? What nature, what causality and whatever else on which you rely and to which you attribute the works of God and His bounties and favors, and what discoveries and inventions of yours and what idols and fetishes, can save you from the darkness of death, which you suppose to be eternal extinction, and take you across the boundaries of the intermediate world of the grave and the place of the Resurrection and Gathering and over the Bridge to the Abode of Eternal Happiness?
Whereas, since you are unable to close the door of the grave, you are bound to traverse, to tread this way which reaches the One under Whose command and at Whose disposal are all those worlds and abodes.
The potential of loving misspent
Also, O unfortunate, misguided and heedless people! Since you use unlawfully in love of your selves and the world, the potential of loving and knowing which was given to you to know and love God and His Attributes and Names, and your body and faculties granted to you to worship and thank Him, you are suffering the punishment which you deserve. Since you assign to your selves the love which must be felt for Almighty God, you are suffering the troubles which your selves cause you. You do not provide a true peace and happiness for that object of your adoration, which is your carnal self. Since you do not submit it to the Absolutely Powerful One, the True Beloved One, with utmost trust in Him, you always suffer pains. Since you assign to the world the love belonging to the Names and Attributes of Almighty God, and attribute the works of His art to causality and nature, you are getting your deserts. The things among which you share out your love either leave you without saying good-bye or do not recognize you. Even if they recognize you, they do not love you. Even if they love you, they give you no benefit. You suffer from incessant separations and deaths without hope of re-union.
This is the reality of what the misguided call happiness of life and human perfection and beauties of civilization and pleasures of freedom. Dissipation and drunkenness are a veil which may temporarily keep them from feeling those sufferings and pains.
As for the light-diffusing highway of the Qur’an, it heals the wounds with which the misguided are afflicted, with the truths of belief, and disperses all the darkness enveloping them. It closes up all the doors of misguidance and wasting.
How do man’s essential weakness and destitution the source of his real power and richness?
The way of the Qur’an removes the weakness and impotence of man and his poverty and neediness through trust in an All-Powerful One of Compassion. In this way man submits the burden of his being and life to His Power and Mercy and rather than being loaded with that burden, he makes his self and life a mount for himself. This way teaches him that he is not a speaking animal but a true human being and a welcomed guest of the All-Merciful One. Showing the world as a guest-house of the All-Merciful One and the creatures in it as the mirrors of the Divine Names and ever-recruited missives of the Eternally Besought-of-All, it heals perfectly the wounds caused by the transience of the world, decay of things and love of mortals, and saves man from the darkness of whims and fancies.
The way of the Qur’an shows life to be the prelude to re-union with the friends and beloved ones who have already gone to the other world, and thereby heals the wounds of death, which the misguided regard as an eternal separation. It establishes that that separation is in reality the re-union itself.
By demonstrating that the grave is a door opened on the world of mercy, the abode of happiness, the gardens of Paradise and the luminous realm of the All-Merciful One, the way of the Qur’an removes the greatest fear of mankind and shows the journeying in the intermediate world which is, in appearance, most depressing and troublesome, to be most pleasant and exhilarating. It demonstrates that the grave is not like a dragon’s mouth but a door opened on the gardens of Divine Mercy.
It says to the believer: Seeing that you have a most limited will-power, then leave your affairs to the universal Will of your Owner. If you have a slight, insignificant power, then rely on the Power of the Absolutely Powerful One. If you have a short life, consider the eternal life. If you have a dull mind, enter in the sun of the Qur’an. Look at it with the light of belief so that in place of your mind, which gives light like a firefly, each of the Qur’an’s verses gives you light like a star.
If you have endless ambitions and pains, boundless rewards and an infinite mercy are awaiting you.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.