KNOW, O FRIEND, that I am compelled to unveil something very important through my works. I do not know if I have discovered it already or if it will appear in the future, or if I am only a means for someone else to discover and reach it. There is no power and strength save with God. God is enough for us, and what a good guardian He is. O God, take us out of the world as martyrs and believers.
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
I offer unlimited praise to God for the blessing of belief and Islam, and unlimited thanks to Him for each of His bounties in all circumstances. Peace and blessings be upon the prince of pure saints and the good of human beings—the chosen Prophet, Muhammad—and on his purified Family and Companions, each of which is a luminous, guiding star, as long as nights and days continue.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that there are conditions special to each station. Those traveling to God should adopt an attitude particular to each station, rank, and veil that they either pass by or through, and to each state they are to experience. Whoever confuses these [with one another] makes mistakes. They would be like those who hear a horse neighing in a village and then, hearing a nightingale singing in a town, confuse the two animals with each other or expect the nightingale to neigh like a horse.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that one reason why you see worldly life as beautiful is the preceding illustrious, great persons shining as stars of guidance in the “mirror” of the world. The future is the mirror of the past. The past, already mixed into the intermediate realm between this world and the next, leaves its form in the mirror of the future, and in history and people’s memories. The resulting love you feel for these people is like the following parable: On the road, someone finds a huge mirror in which he sees images of his friends and beloved ones who have emigrated to “the east” (death). But in the mirror, they appear to have gone to the west. Terrified of the east, he retreats and runs toward “the west.” If the veil of unawareness and heedlessness is lifted from his face, he will see himself running in a vast desert toward a mirage and torment, not toward a source of sweet water.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that one aspect of the Qur’an’s greatness and most truthful evidence of its truth is as follows: It contains whatever is necessary for complete confirmation of Divine Unity and its varieties—Unity in Essence, Attributes, Names, and Acts—and observes the balance among all exalted Divine truths. It comprehends whatever is required by the Divine Beautiful Names, preserves the proportion among them, and encompasses the essential qualities of Lordship and Divinity with perfect balance.
This quality of the Qur’an is not found in the products of any human mind, whether a saint penetrating the inner dimension of existence, an illuminist philosopher (Ishraqi) with insight into the inner side of things and events, or a perfect, purified scholar seeing into the Unseen. They cannot comprehend the absolute truth with their limited views, but only can observe an aspect of it. In their attempt to grasp it, they handle it in some extreme, unjust ways that destroy this balance and remove this perfect proportionality.
Such people are like divers gathering treasure on the sea floor. Some find a large diamond and conclude that the treasure consists of only that kind of diamond. When they hear that others have found other gems, they think that those gems are to be set in their diamond. Still others find a round ruby or a square amber. Each group supposes that the treasure consists of what it has found and that the other gems are to be added to it. If this were true, the balance and proportionality would be destroyed, and the groups would make false or unacceptable comments on (or even deny) what the others had found. Whoever uses the Sunna’s criteria to examine the works of illuminist philosophers and of spiritual masters based on their particular findings and observations will agree with me.
The Qur’an is also a diver—but a diver with an open eye that sees the whole treasure and describes it exactly as it is, without going to extremes, neglecting anything, or destroying the balance and proportion among its parts. For example, it contains whatever is necessary to describe God Almighty’s Grandeur, such as:
The whole earth is His handful on Doomsday, and the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand. (39:67)
On that day We shall roll up the heavens like rolling up a scroll for books. (21:104)
He fashions you in the wombs as He pleases. (3:6)
There is no moving creature but He has grasped it by the forelock. (11:56)
He has created the heavens and Earth. (6:73) He creates you and whatever you do. (38:96) He revives Earth. (30:50)
Your Lord has inspired the bee. (16:68)
The sun, the moon, and the stars are all subjugated to His command. (7:54)
Have they not seen the birds above them flying in lines with their wings spread out and alighting [with their wings] closed? None save the All-Merciful One sustains them. He is the Seer of all things. (67:19)
He inscribes the page of the heavens with stars and suns like inscribing the wing of a bee with its cells and particles.
His Seat embraces the heavens and Earth. (2:255) He is with you wherever you may be. (57:4)
He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, and He knows all things. (57:3)
(Deviant) sects appeared because their leaders, who “set out” into existence’s inner dimension, turned back halfway in reliance on their findings. They obtained something and lost many things.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that the Qur’an mentions seven heavens. Its mentioning the heaven of the world in We decorated the heaven of the world (41:12) and the world as the opposite of the Hereafter, points to the fact that the remaining six heavens are related to the worlds of the Hereafter, from the intermediate world of the grave to Paradise. The heaven that we see with its stars is the heaven of the world. However, God knows best.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that you were created from “non-existence.” Then, your Originator favored you by elevating you from the lowest level of existence to the level of being a Muslim human being. Whatever you received and whatever happened between your first movement and your present state is a favor of God on you. From each favor, a fruit and a color is attached to you. You are like a necklace or a cluster on which the “beads” or “grains” of favor have been strung, an index of the Almighty’s favors. Existence requires a cause; non-existence does not. You will be asked how you attained so many favors while obtaining a full, perfect existence from the level of being a particle to death, how you deserved them, and whether you thanked [God] for them. No one asks a stone why it has not become a tree, or a tree why it has not become a person.
O SAID, YOU WRETCHED, ARROGANT CREATURE! You are a point in the middle of the series of creatures. You have been distinguished with infinite favor, and are responsible for giving thanks for each of them. As for the favors conferred on those above you, they are not for you. You will not be questioned about what you cannot attain, just as a particle has no right to sigh, saying: “Alas! Why did I not become a sun?” or a bee to complain to its Creator: “I wished you had created me as a fruit-bearing date-palm.”
KNOW, O EGO, that your refusal to give everything its due and burden it only with what it can bear is one reason why you perish and why you are led to perdition, deviation, and humiliation. You burden a soldier with an army’s requirements. You want to see the sun, with all its grandeur and planets, in its image, in a drop’s eye, or on a flower’s face. In truth, a drop or a flower describes the sun to you [each according to its capacity of reflection], but they do not have its qualities.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that the ownership and dominion of all things belong to Him. He owns your body, which He has entrusted to you. There is no benefit in worrying about it, and no good in what is not permanent. Avoid trying to do what you cannot do. You are destined to die, and death resulting in life is better than life resulting in death.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that while the image of something reflected in a mirror is not identical with the thing itself, it is not other-than-that either. The image is at once both identical to and other than the real thing. As the image is the form of the “meaning” reflected, it is identical with the thing. What is true of the thing is also true of the image. However, as the image only consists of the thing’s form reflected in a mirror, it is other than the thing. Given this, although it is not identical with the thing itself, it is not something other than the thing. Similarly, what is reflected in the mirror of the mind, since it is the form of the meaning, is something known. But since it is the description of the thing reflected, it is knowledge.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that many worlds are situated in existence without one preventing the other. If on a pitch-dark night you enter a room with walls made of glass and illuminated with an electric lamp, first you will see numerous illuminated places in the walls, and the town itself being reflected and illuminated. You can change or alter these reflected images. You also will notice that the lamp is nearest to the remotest of the reflected lamps, as it is the original of all the reflected lamps. This is how part of this grain-sized existence can contain a whole world of reflected existence.
All these qualities are true of many other things, even of the Necessary Existence and the World of Contingencies, which are shadows of the lights of the One Whose existence is absolutely necessary. Although the existence of the World of Contingencies is illusory by itself, it has stability by the command of the Almighty and is seen and sensed by the creation of the Necessarily Existent One.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that this domain of existence must have One Who created and owns it. In addition, the Owner must make Himself known to humanity, who can perceive this domain’s beauty [and understand that it is] testifying to the Owner’s perfection. Humanity, who has been made a ruler on Earth (its cradle), which was leveled and prepared for human dwelling, controls Earth and its ceiling (heaven). In addition, despite human weakness and smallness, as testified to by our strange and wonderful human disposition, we are the noblest of creatures. Also, among the causes [that God uses to veil His acts and free disposing], humanity is the most comprehensive and influential when it comes to choice and free decision. So, the Owner sends the one [Prophet Muhammad] who will make the Owner known to those inhabitants of His domain who are unaware of Him, and inform them of what is pleasing to Him and what He demands from them.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that all your feelings and faculties, even those of supposition and imagination, finally are compelled to agree on and take refuge in truth. Falsehood can find no room in them. They affirm that the universe cannot be different from how the Qur’an describes it.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that there is no collision and repulsion between the worlds of light, heat, air, electricity, and gravitation and those of ether, ideas or immaterial forms, and the intermediate world of the grave. They exist together with you wherever you are, without one preventing and being mixed with the other. Similarly, although much more spacious or larger than this narrow world, many of the unseen worlds can exist together. Also, air and water do not prevent us from journeying, from going [on or through it], just as glass does not stop light from passing through it, and a solid object does not hinder the penetration of X-rays, the intellect’s light, and an angel’s spirit. Iron cannot block heat’s permeation and electricity’s conduction. Nothing can stop gravity’s penetration, the spirit’s movement, and the intellect’s light. Likewise, this solid, material world does not stop or prevent spirit beings from circulating, jinn from moving around, Satan from infiltrating and penetrating, and angels from journeying.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that the light and those things made of light are like an eye, a lamp, and the sun. It is equal to them [to encompass with their manifestations] whether they are one or many, part or whole. Look at the sun, and see how planets, oceans, bubbles, drops, dewdrops, raindrops, or glass contain and reflect its images simultaneously and with great ease. The disposition of the Book of the Universe by the Eternal Sun, the Light of Lights, is similar. He writes all its chapters, sections, paragraphs, lines, sentences, words, and letters at once and with absolute ease. He declares: Your creation and resurrection are like those of a single soul (30:28).
KNOW, O FRIEND, that one who reflects upon the motions of tiniest component particles of things and how they fulfill their purpose(s) in life becomes convinced that there is One Who orders them: “Stop and be settled!” It is like the casting-mold ordering the melting gold in a firm manner: “Do not flow! Be fixed and stable within the borders of the mold made for a particular purpose!” What commands the tiniest component particles of things is the Encompassing Knowledge that manifests Itself as Destiny— the power destining, determining, and ordaining. Destiny becomes a fixed measure or amount, and the measure becomes a mold.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that just as the Qur’an’s verses interpret each other, the parts of the Book of the Universe also interpret each other. Just as the corporeal world truly needs the sun from which the lights of the Almighty’s favorings diffuse upon it, so the spiritual world needs the sun of Prophethood to diffuse the lights of the Almighty’s compassion upon it. The Prophethood of Ahmad—Muhammad— is as manifest, clear, and certain as the sun at noon [on a clear summer day]. Does daytime need any evidence?
KNOW, O FRIEND, that the purposes of something’s life do not concern only its life, benefit, and perfection. They are related to that thing in one respect only, but are related to the Giver of Life in infinite respects. The realization of the thing’s inherent purpose takes a long time, while the purposes relating to the Giver of Life are realized instantly. By reflecting the manifestations of His Most Beautiful Names, a living thing fulfills instantly its function of praising its Creator with all His Attributes of Perfection, Grace, and Majesty.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that each person is like a species of other beings, for each one has a past and a future. [Since all human cells are renewed every 6 months,] everyone’s two individual forms depart every year, but only after depositing in that person all of their pain, sin, ambition, and so on. It is as if human beings are all-inclusive individuals.
Also, their intellectual capacity and comprehensive thoughts, feelings, and emotions make each individual like a species. As an individual and as a species, they are responsible for improving the world in accordance with God’s commands [which we call vicegerency] and being the pivot around which their particular world and the whole world rotates. Their conscious concern with all parts of creation, as well as the disposal of many plant and animal species and of elements, cause each person to be like a species.
Furthermore, a believer’s prayer for all inhabitants of the heavens and Earth shows that he or she becomes like a world or its center through belief. Consider what occurs in animal and plant species every year in the name of death, revival, and renewal. Look at the imprints and traces of God’s Mercy manifested every year in the fruits renewed or recruited with their almost identical successors, and at the resurrection of many insect and vermin species with perfect ease. The same thing happens in every person. Through all these “verses” of creation, the Book of the Universe indicates the world’s overall destruction upon humanity and humanity’s resurrection, a fact that the Qur’an points to with its verses of Revelation. I have mentioned rational arguments for the Resurrection in The Tenth Word and The Twenty-ninth Word.63
KNOW, O FRIEND, that each melody of the Qur’an assumes a new attitude and mood according to the level of the audience it is guiding. Try to assume the mood of the intermediaries ranging from Gabriel, who brought it to the Prophet, to the one from whom you hear it directly. While listening to its recitation, try to hear it as if you were listening to the Prophet reciting it at the summit of Prophethood to all people and other beings. Then assume the manner of Gabriel while he recites it to the Prophet, on the “highest horizon.” Finally, try to hear it as if you were listening to it from behind 70,000 veils from the Eternally Speaking One, Who speaks to the Prophet at “the distance of two bows’ length.”64
KNOW, O FRIEND, that your share of consciousness and knowledge is proportional to your share in your existence, for there is no waste in existence, cause is proportionate to effect, and power to result. When your share in your existence is compared to that of the One Who created you, it is like a hair compared to a thick rope, a fiber compared to clothes. When your consciousness and knowledge of yourself is compared to your Creator’s knowledge and sight of you, they are a firefly’s light at midday. You are in the darkness of indifference, and the night of nature or naturalism shows you your light as if it is a piercing star.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that between God’s acts is a proportion, and between His works is a similarity. His Names are reflected on one another, His Attributes are intermixed, and His Essential Qualities are commingled with one another. However, each has a particular attitude and way of manifestation and operation, with the others dependent on and subordinate to it. In the sphere of one’s manifestation and operation, rule and consequence are not attributed to others, nor should others’ imprints and works be sought from that one. So when you look at inanimate objects, first consider His Power and Grandeur, and then you will see the other Names’ manifestations as subordinate to these. When you look at animals, first consider the Names that are most manifested on them. He created and established a measure for all things.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that There is no force and strength save with God has a relation or concern with each stage you undergo during your creation, from the stage of being a component of elements in nature to that of being a believing human being. In connection with each stage and [for the satisfaction of] each sense and faculty, you have different needs and expectations and suffer different pains:
There is no force to bring forth from non-existence and no strength to give existence, save with God.
There is no force to save from decay and no strength to give permanence, save with God.
There is no force to cause harm and no strength to give benefit, save with God.
There is no force to protect one from misfortune and no strength to meet needs, save with God.
There is no force to enable one to resist sin and no strength to enable one to continue his or her worship of and obedience to Him, save with God.
There is no force to save one from pain and torment and no strength to bestow bounties, save with God.
There is no force to save one from evil and no strength to earn grace and do good, save with God.
There is no force to enable one to endure pain and no strength to enable one to attain his or her ambitions, save with God.
There is no force to remove the veil of darkness and no strength to send illuminating lights, save with God, the High, the Grand.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that whoever trusts God and relies upon Him, He is sufficient for him [to protect against evil and attain all good.]
God is sufficient for us and what a good Guardian He is, for He is our owner and the owner of all things. Therefore, if we submit ourselves to Him, it will be as if everything is in our possession.
God is sufficient for us and what a good Guardian He is, for He is the Absolutely Perfect One, and perfection is loved by Him. It is worth being sacrificed for the sake of that perfection.
God is sufficient for us and what a good Guardian He is, for He is the All-Majestic and All-Beautiful One having absolute perfection. Beauty is loved by Him and, for the sake of the zeal and ecstasy produced by the renewals that His Beauty’s manifestations bring about, we die smiling and are revived rejoicing.
God is sufficient for us and what a good Guardian He is, for He is the Necessarily Existent One, Who gives existence to all things. Our knowledge of the absolute necessity of His existence makes everything that exists (except God) subservient to us and bestows on us eternal existence. Our ignorance or denial of His necessary existence leaves us enveloped by the darkness of non-existence.
God is sufficient for us and what a good Guardian He is, for He is everlasting and eternal, uncontained by time and space. All things are perishing except His “Face” (28:88).
God is sufficient for us and what a good Guardian He is, for the world is transient and life is ephemeral.
God is sufficient for us and what a good Guardian He is, for without Him, all pleasure in the world changes into pain. By turning to Him and connecting with His Mercy, one is saved from the pain of being mortal, and fleeting pleasures gain permanence.
God is sufficient for us and what a good Guardian He is, for one receives the lights of existence through Him, while without Him one falls into the darkness of non-existence.
God is sufficient for us and what a good Guardian He is, for if we recognize Him and refer our needs and complaints to Him, He satisfies them. If we turn to causes and refer our needs and complaints to them—although causes are blind and deaf, and cannot see or hear us— we are confused and lost. We are like one who, although allowed to refer complaints directly to the king who can answer them instantly, instead asks the whole population of the country, one by one, for help.
KNOW, O FRIEND, that among the Qur’an’s miraculous subtleties and evidence that it is an all-encompassing mercy for creation are the following: Just as each one of us has his or her own world within this world, we also have a Qur’an that addresses our individual temperaments, educates us, cures us of our [spiritual] diseases, and answers our intellectual quests.
Among the Qur’an’s merits of guidance are the following:
- There is a perfect coherence, consistency, and connection among its verses, which enables each person to select specific verses for guidance and to cure personal spiritual diseases. This is what scholars and spiritual guides belonging to different schools do. Although the Qur’an was revealed in parts and on different occasions, its verses are arranged, like the beads of a necklace, in perfect harmony and coherence. Its division into verses and chapters does not cause discord and disunity, and does not distract readers from its main purposes. Its transition to other verses or groups of verses causes no disruption. Most of its verses are subtly interlinked with one another so that they can be mentioned together or gathered together to form, for example, a compilation of supplications.
- The verses of Surat al-Ikhlas corroborate one another, as they are both arguments for one another and conclusions to be reached from those arguments.65 Similarly, because of its verses’ interrelation and comprehensive meaning, there are innumerable Qur’ans within the single Qur’an, and a book is formed around each of its truths.
O God, Revealer of the Qur’an, for the sake of the Qur’an, make the Qur’an my intimate friend during my life and following my death, and a light in my heart and my grave. There is no god but God. Muhammad is His Messenger.
63 Said Nursi, The Words, The Light, Inc., New Jersey: 2005.
64 “The distance of two bows’ length” is mentioned in Qur’an 53:9 to express the Prophet’s nearness to God during his Ascension. It is purely metaphorical. (Tr.)
65 Surat al-Ikhlas: “Say: “He is God, (He is) One. God is the Eternally-Besought-of-All. He begets not, nor was He begotten. There is none comparable to Him.” (112:1-4). For its verses corroborating one another and being both arguments for one another and conclusions to be reached from those arguments, see Said Nursi, The Words, The Light, Inc., New Jersey: 2005.