There are two paths before every human being. 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 an aesthesia. 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.
In religion the world is condemned and described as flesh. Also, all the people of truth and sainthood deplore the world and regard it as evil and foul. Whereas you show it to be the means for the manifestations of all Divine perfections and speak of it like a lover.
The world has three facets.
- The first facet is concerned with the Names of Almighty God. It shows their inscriptions and functions as mirrors to them. This facet is the collection of the innumerable ‘letters’ of the Eternally Besought-of-All. Therefore it is extremely beautiful and worthy of love, not of dislike.
- The second facet of the world is related to the Hereafter. It is the field to sow for the Hereafter, the tillage of Paradise. It is the flower-bed of Divine Mercy. Like the first one, this facet too, is beautiful, and worthy of love, not condemnation.
- The third facet is a veil of heedlessness and a plaything which concerns the fancies and desires of man. This facet is ugly because it is mortal, painful and deceptive. It is this facet of the world which the Traditions condemn and the people of truth dislike.
The Wise Qur’an praises the creation and attaches importance to it on account of its first two facets. The Companions sought after these two facets, as have the other saints.
Four groups of people condemn the world and deplore it.
- The first group are those having knowledge of God. Since the world builds a barrier before the knowledge, love and worship of Almighty God, they condemn the world.
- The second group are those who aim solely at the life of the Hereafter. Either because worldly affairs and occupations prevent them from striving for the Hereafter seriously or because their firm belief and conviction show them the world to be very ugly in comparison with the beauties and perfections of Paradise, they abhor the world. Just as a man, however handsome, is ugly when compared with the Prophet Joseph, upon him be peace, so too, all the beauties and charms of the world mean nothing in comparison with the beauties of Paradise.
- The third group condemn the world because they are unable to ‘conquer’ it. This condemnations arises from the love of the world, not from dislike of it.
- The fourth group condemn the world because when they seize something of the world, it slips out of their grasp. They become angry and in order to console themselves, say: the world is ugly. This kind of condemnation, too, arises from love of the world. Whereas the agreeable condemnation is that which comes from the love of the Hereafter and knowledge of God.
For the sake of the Master of the Messengers, may Almighty God include us among the first two groups. Amen.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.