Seventh cause


The disagreement and rivalry among the people of truth does not come from jealousy or greed for the world; nor does the agreement of the worldly and heedless people arise from magnanimity or nobility. Rather, the people of truth are unable to maintain magnanimity and zeal for endeavor, both of which originate in the truth and the praiseworthy form of competition in doing good on the way of the truth. Both because of this and because of the infiltration of some who are unqualified to work for the truth, they misuse that praiseworthy form of competition to a certain degree, and fall into rivalry and disagreement, thus doing great harm to both themselves and the community of Muslims.

As for the people of worldliness and heedlessness, in order not to lose the benefits to which they are so attached and not to offend the leaders and companions they adore for the sake of their benefits, in their humiliation, cowardliness, and due to the lack of a sublime goal or endeavor for the same, they form unity at all costs with their fellows, however abased, treacherous, and harmful they be, and sincerely come together with their partners in whatever way may be for their common interest. They benefit from this cooperation due to their sincerity.

So, O disunited, calamity-stricken people of truth! Since at this time of calamity you have lost sincerity and been unable to make God’s good pleasure your sole aim, you have caused all the people of truth to suffer the present humiliation and defeat. In matters relating to the Religion and the afterlife there should be no rivalry or jealousy, and indeed there cannot be either from the viewpoint of the truth. For jealousy and the ensuing rivalry arise from the conflict, dispute and competition that are caused by many hands being stretched out to obtain the same object or many eyes being fixed on the same position, or many stomachs demanding the same food. Since in the world many desire and apply for the same thing, and the world is too narrow and temporary to satisfy the limitless desires of humanity, people fall into rivalry. However, there is no cause for rivalry in the Hereafter, where each individual will be given a Garden across which they can walk for five hundred years, with seventy thousand palaces, and where every one of the people of Paradise will be fully satisfied with his or her share.7

Therefore, there can be no rivalry or jealousy about good deeds done to gain eternal happiness in the Hereafter. One who shows jealousy is either a person of ostentation, who is pursuing worldly results in the fulfillment of good deeds, or an ignorant devotee who does not know the reason good deeds should be done, or perceive that the spirit or essence of good deeds is sincerity. By feeling some sort of enmity towards God’s beloved servants because of this rivalry, such a person takes up a position by which they deny the limitless vastness of God’s Mercy. What follows is an event that corroborates this reality:

One of our former companions cherished enmity towards a man. When that man was praised for his good deeds and even saintliness in the presence of our companion, he showed no signs of jealousy or discomfort. When, however, another one said to him, “That enemy of yours is courageous and strong,” we saw a strong feeling of jealousy and rivalry provoked in him. We said to him:


Sainthood and righteousness are as valuable as a diamond with respect to eternal life, yet you felt no jealousy of your enemy on account of them. But worldly strength is to be found in oxen, and courage in wild wolves, and compared with saintliness and righteousness, they are like a piece of glass compared to a diamond.

The man answered:


We have both fixed our eyes in this world on a single thing, a single position. The steps by which we will reach it are things such as strength and courage.

This is why I was jealous of him. But there are countless positions in the Hereafter. Although he is my enemy here, there he may be a sincere, beloved brother of mine.

O people of truth and followers of spiritual paths! Serving the truth is like carrying and preserving a great, heavy treasure. The greater the number of powerful hands that rush to the aid of those who carry it on their shoulders are, the happier and more pleased they will be. Far from being jealous, though, one should proudly and lovingly applaud the superior strength, effectiveness and assistance of these true brothers and self-sacrificing helpers who come forward to offer their help; why then do we respond to them with rivalry, thus losing sincerity? Why in the eyes of the worldly, misguided people, who themselves are a hundred times lower than you, as their way is lower than yours, do you expose yourselves to appalling accusations such as earning the world by misuse of the Religion, exploiting the knowledge of truth to earn your livelihood, and ambitiously and greedily competing for worldly interests?

The sole remedy for this disease is condemning one’s own soul and taking the side of the fellows against one’s soul. One should also follow the following principle adopted and established by scholars in the art of debate: “A person who desires, in debate on a subject, his own thesis to be true and is happy with its turning out to be right and the opposing side to be wrong and mistaken, is an unfair one.” Such a person is also in loss, for when they win the debate, they have learned nothing new; rather, their probable pride may cause them further loss. But if the truth turns out to be on the opposing side, they will have learned something previously unknown to them and thereby acquired something beneficial, as well as having been saved from probable pride. Therefore, a fair, truth-loving one wounds the pride of their carnal soul for the sake of the truth. When they see the truth in the hand of their opponent, they willingly accept it and support it.

If the people of the Religion, the truth, and knowledge, and the followers of spiritual paths take this principle as a guide, they will attain sincerity, and succeed in their duties pertaining to the Hereafter. They will also be saved through God’s Mercy from the present tragic decline and wretchedness.

All-Glorified are You. We have no knowledge save what You have taught us. Surely You are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

7 A significant question: It is related from God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, that in Paradise a person will be given a garden across which they can walk for five hundred years (atTirmidhi, “Janna” 8). How can we explain this in a way people can understand?

The Answer: In this world everyone has a private, temporary world as spacious as the world itself. Everyone’s life is the pillar of their private world, from which they benefit with all their external and internal senses and faculties. Each person can say, “The sun is my lamp, and the stars are my candles.” All other creatures do not prevent them from privately owning and benefiting from these; rather, they add to the beauty and comfort of everyone’s private world. Similarly, in addition to the private garden that contains thousands of palaces and houris, one incomparably richer and more beautiful than that in the world, every believer will have an area of benefit as spacious as a walk of five hundred years. Through their senses, which will develop to the utmost degree of each, they will have as great enjoyment as Paradise and eternity will allow them. The enjoyment of others will not harm another’s share in the general enjoyment of Paradise; rather it will add to it, making his or her private Garden and share in Paradise more enjoyable. A person benefits in this world from a garden that is large enough to walk through in an hour, from an excursion area in which one can walk for a day, or from countryside that has enough room for a month’s walk, or from a continent that can take a year to cross, with their mouth, ears, eyes, sense of taste, and all other senses and faculties. So too, in the realm of eternity, a person’s senses of smell and taste, which can benefit in this world from a garden only as large as an hour’s walk, will benefit in Paradise from a Garden as spacious as a year’s walk. The faculties of sight and hearing, which can have limited benefit in this world, will benefit in Paradise from a Garden that is spacious enough to walk for five hundred years. Every believer’s enjoyment will be in proportion to the developmental degree of their senses, feelings, and faculties through the rewards they earned in the world.