The Thirteenth Word
Conversations with young people and prisoners
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the Al-Compassionate.
[NOTE: A conversation held with young people surrounded by temptation but still able to judge what is happening around them.]
Some young people, seeking to counter modern amusements and fancies and so save themselves from punishment in the Hereafter, sought help from the Risale-i Nur. In its name, I told them what follows:
The grave is there, no one can deny it. Whether they want or not, everyone will enter it. It is represented in three ways, there is not the forth: For believers, it is the door to a more beautiful world. For those who admit the next life but live a misguided, dissipated life, it is the door to solitary imprisonment that will separate them from their loved ones. Since they believe and confirm but do not live according to their belief that is exactly how they will be punished. For unbelievers and the misguided who do not believe in the Hereafter, it is the door to eternal execution. Since they believe death to be an execution without resurrection, they will be punished eternally.
Death may come at any time without differentiating between young and old; its appointed hour is unknown. Such an awesomely threatening reality makes it our greatest, most urgent matter to search for a way to avoid eternal punishment and imprisonment, for a way to change the grave into a door opening onto a permanent world of light and eternal happiness.
Death will be experienced in these three ways, as has been reported by 124,000 truthful reporters—the Prophets, in whose hands are signs of truthfulness (miracles). Their reports have been confirmed by millions of saints relying on their discernment, vision, and intuition. Also, innumerable truth-seeking scholars have proved it rationally with their decisive proofs at the level of “certainty based on knowledge.” All groups agree that only belief in and obedience to God can save one from eternal punishment and imprisonment, and make the grave a way to eternal happiness.
If only one reliable reporter warns that a particular way carries a one percent risk of death, people will be so afraid that they will avoid it. But countless truthful, authoritative reporters—Prophets, saints, and truth seeking scholars—have provided proof of their truth and warn us that misguidance and dissipation carry a hundred percent risk of death followed by eternal punishment. In contrast, belief and worship change the grave into a door opening onto an eternal treasury, a palace of lasting happiness. If we, especially those of us claiming to be Muslims, do not truly believe and worship in the face of such a mighty warning, how will we overcome our anxieties while waiting to die, even if we were given the rule of the whole world and enjoyed all its pleasures?
Seeing old age, illness, misfortune, and numerous instances of death everywhere reopens our pain and reminds us of death. Even if the misguided and the dissolute appear to enjoy all kinds of pleasure and delight, they most certainly are in a hellish state of spiritual torment. However, a profound stupor of heedlessness makes them temporarily insensible to it.
Obedient believers experience the grave as the door to an eternal treasury and endless happiness. Since the “belief coupon” they have causes them to have a priceless ticket from the allocations of eternal Divine Destiny, they expect the call “come and collect your ticket” with profound pleasure and spiritual delight. If this pleasure could assume the material form of a seed, it would grow into a private paradise. But those who abandon this great delight and pleasure to indulge the drives of youth, who choose temporary and illicit pleasures, which resemble poisonous honey causing limitless pains, fall far below the status of animals.
They are not like Western unbelievers, who may recognize another Prophet even if they deny their own; who may yet recognize God even if they deny all Prophets; or who may have some good qualities, which are means to certain perfections, even if they do not recognize God. Muslims, however, know the Prophets, God, and all perfections because of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and so those Muslims who abandon the Prophet’s instruction and break with his line cannot recognize any other Prophet or find support in their souls to preserve any human perfection. For Prophet Muhammad is the last and greatest Prophet; superior to all with respect to his mission, miracles, and accomplishments; and came with a universal religion and Message for all time and peoples. Muslims who abandon this Pride of humankind’s principles of training and the rules his religion will most certainly be unable to find any light or achieve any perfection. They will be condemned to absolute loss and decline.
So, those of you who are addicted to worldly pleasure, and in anxiety at the future, struggle to secure it and your lives, if you want pleasure and delight, happiness and ease in this world, be content with what is religiously lawful. It is sufficient for your enjoyment. You must have understood by now that each forbidden pleasure contains many pains. If the dissolute were shown their future—their states in fifty years from now—in the way past events are shown in the movie theater, they would be horrified and disgusted with themselves. Those who wish to be eternally happy in both worlds should follow the Prophet’s instruction on the firm ground of belief.