In the Name of God the Merciful the Compassionate.
Do not reckon those who rejoice in what they have brought and love to be praised for what they have not done—do not reckon them secure from chastisement; rather, there is a painful chastisement for them. (3:188)
O foolish soul delighted with self-pride, enamored of fame, fond of being praised, and peerless in egotism!
If it is a just claim that its tiny seed is the agent of a fig tree with all its fruits, and that it is the dry branch of the vine which produces tens of bunches of grapes hanging from it, and that those who benefit from them should respect and praise the branch and the seed, then you might have the right to be proud and conceited about the gifts—abilities, the physical features, etc.—which were given to you. Whereas in fact you deserve to be constantly chided because you are not like the seed and the branch: Since you have the faculty of will, you reduce the value of those gifts through your pride; through your conceit, you damage them; through your ingratitude, you nullify them; and in appropriating them to yourself, you usurp them.
Your duty is not to be self-proud, but to be thankful to God. What is fit for you is not to seek fame but humility, and to feel shame (for your deficiencies). Your right is not praise but repentance, and to seek forgiveness (for your faults). Your perfection lies not in self-centeredness, but in attributing every good to God.
You soul in my body, you resemble ‘nature’ in the outer world. Both of you were created to receive good and be the thing to which evil is referred. That is, you are not the agent and the origin, rather, you are the recipient, the means, and the ground or the scene. You can, O my soul, be effective only in that you cause an evil because you do not accept the good coming from the Absolute Good. You and the ‘natural causes’ were created as veils, so that things that are apparently ugly, the beauty of which is not visible, should be attributed to you, and you should be the means of the Most Holy Divine Essence being acknowledged free of defect. You, my carnal soul, have taken an attitude completely contrary to your duty of creation. Although, out of your incompetence you have changed good into evil, you act as though you were a partner to your Creator. That means one who adores himself and one who adores nature is extremely foolish and a great wrongdoer.
Do not say: ‘I am an object of Divine manifestations. One who receives and reflects Divine beauty becomes beautiful.’ For, since that beauty has not taken on a perpetual form in you, you may be an object reflecting it only for a short time.
Also, do not say: ‘Among people I was chosen. All these results, all the works I have produced are shown through me. I have some merit that God chose me to manifest some of His Names through.’ No! God forbid! God has caused you to produce those works because you are more bankrupt and more needy of them than everyone else and more afflicted with intellectual and spiritual shortcomings.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.