An important matter



Ego has two faces: prophethood and human philosophy.

This first face, the origin of pure servanthood to God, points only to God and has an illusory, dependent existence. Although it appears self-owning, it is owned and controlled by God. It has a supposed (not an established) reality, and serves as a measure, a unit of comparison, to understand the Creator’s Attributes. This reality is seen by all Prophets, who submitted existence to God; affirmed and demonstrated that He has no partners in His Sovereignty, Lordship, or Divinity; and that He holds the keys of, and has absolute power over, all things. From this transparent face of ego, the All-Compassionate has grown a blessed tree of servanthood whose blessed branches, spread through the garden of the universe, hang with clusters of fruits of Messengers, Prophets, saints, and truth-seeking, pure scholars glittering in the darkness like stars.

The second face, based on philosophy, presents ego with an independent, self-owned existence pointing to itself. Philosophers say that ego has an established reality and that its duty is to become perfected through self-love. This has engendered many kinds of associating partners with God, especially the accursed tree of misguidance. Its branch of lust, which appreciates unjust might or force and physical beauty enamored of show, has given to humanity idols before which the misguided prostrate.79 The branch of wrath has saddled humanity with Pharaohs and Nimrods, while that of reason has produced atheists and materialists. Philosophers attribute to God only a part of His kingdom, and attribute the rest to that which is not Him.

Although ego is essentially like air or vapor, the philosophers’ mistaken view causes it to grow denser, becoming like fluid and then, due to superficial familiarity, like a solid thing. Heedlessness then causes it to become frozen, after which rebellion causes it to get stronger and swell until it swallows its owner. It becomes broader with tribal or racial attitudes and then, because of ascribing self-existence, ownership, and even creativity to other people and natural causes (as it ascribes the same to itself), ego starts to contend against its Creator’s command. Some philosophers believe that natural causes have real effects in creation and the control of things, and attribute creativity to nature and chance. That is why they deny the Resurrection and accept that spirits or, as is the case with materialists, matter have no beginning. May God assail their perversity, for their conceit has made them playthings of devils, who have thrown them into the pits of misguidance.

Ego in the normo-cosmos (humanity) is the counterpart of nature in the macro-cosmos: Both have been attributed partnership with God and therefore deified. Whoever denies false deities and believes in God has laid hold of the most unbreakable handle. God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing (2:256).

KNOW, O FRIEND, that good deeds acquire vitality through sincere intention, and are corrupted through show, ostentation, and hypocrisy. The feelings for and (natural) tendencies toward good ingrained in one’s conscience lose their purity through conscious or purposeful intention. Intention is the life of deeds, while purposeful intention is the death of natural states. For example, the intention to be humble spoils humility, the intention to be great provokes contempt, the intention to have relief causes relief to disappear, and the intention to be sad decreases sadness.

KNOW, O FRIEND, that the law of growth operates in a tree. The tree’s seed (its essence) is contained by the fruit and, unless somehow impeded, grows by eternal Favoring into the tree and again is placed in its fruit. The fruit is the tree’s most valuable, esteemed, pleasant, important, and illustrious part, as it is the reason for the tree’s existence. The universe is a tree, and its branches are such basic elements as earth, water, air, and fire. Its leaves are plants, its blossoms are animals, and its fruits are men and women.

The greatest, most radiant, illustrious, beautiful, noble, comprehensive, and beneficial fruit is Prophet Muhammad, the master of the Messengers, the leader of the pious, and the beloved of the Lord of the Worlds. He made the Ascension and his eyes did not swerve. The moon split for him. The lizard, gazelle, wolf, camel, mountain, rock, pole, tree, and clod of earth spoke to him. From his fingers flowed water like the Spring of Kawthar. He is the most virtuous person, one carrying all truths of belief in his person. All manifestations of Divine Favoring reach creatures through him, and on him are concentrated all mysteries of God, the All-Merciful.

He commands the “cavalry” of the Prophets and the pious ones faithful to their allegiance and promises, and is the most virtuous of all creatures. He bears the standard of the greatest glory through belief in and submission to Divine Unity, and owns the most esteemed and dignified rope through Islam. He witnesses eternal mysteries, observes the lights, and translates the tongues of those preceding him. He is the source of knowledge, forbearance, and wisdom. He attained servanthood’s highest rank, was distinguished with the highest morality of the purest ranks, and is God’s greatest friend and His most noble beloved. Upon him be the most meritorious blessings and peace so long as the heavens and Earth remain.


Take my hand, O master of the Messengers. You are the desired and sought, O manifest light of God’s Munificence; I have no leader, no refuge, other than you. My proof is: “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is God’s Messenger.”

O God! I wish I had thousands of tongues with which to ask You for forgiveness until the Day of Judgment. O God! Substitute my treatise for those tongues asking for forgiveness and calling blessings upon the Prophet on my behalf forever.

O God! Sins have made me dumb, and the abundance of my rebellion shames me. My great heedlessness causes me to lower my voice. I knock on the door of Your Mercy and cry at the door of Your Forgiveness with the tongue of my master and support, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, may God bless him, and with his appeal, which is acceptable and familiar to the door-keeper:

O One Whose Mercy embraces all things! O One in Whose hand is the dominion of all things! O One Whom nothing can harm or benefit, Whom nothing can overcome and from Whom nothing can be hidden, Whom nothing tires or helps, Who can do more than one thing simultaneously, and Whom nothing resembles nor baffles! Forgive me for whatever I do (that displeases You) so that You may not call me to account for anything (sinful) that I did.

O One Who holds everything by the forelock and in Whose hand are the keys of all things! O One Who is the First, before all things; the Last, after all things; the Outward, above all things; the Inward, in most of all things; One overwhelming all things! Forgive me for all things. You are powerful over all things. O One knowing, encompassing, seeing, beholding, overseeing, penetrating, and well aware of all things! Forgive me for all my sins and errors so that You may not call me to account for anything. You are powerful over all things.

O God! I take refuge in Your Majesty’s might and Your Might’s majesty, and in Your Sovereignty’s power and Your Power’s sovereignty, from losing my relation to You and lethal fancies. O Neighbor of those who seek Your neighborhood! Protect me from satanic lust, clean me of human dirt, and purify me through sincere love of Your Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, from the rust of heedlessness and fancies of ignorance.

(I ask this so) that I may be freed of my selfhood, my ego, and so that only what is for and with You, to and from You, may remain; and that I may be overwhelmed by Your favor in the ocean of Your kindness. (May I be) among those made victorious by Your Sword, favored with Your gifts, and kept away by Your protection from engagements interrupting from You.

O Light of Lights, Knower of secrets, Director of night and day. O Sovereign, Mighty, Overwhelming, Compassionate, Loving, Forgiving. O Knower of the Unseen, Turner of hearts and eyes, Veiler of defects (of His servants), Forgiver of sins! Forgive me and have mercy on him who is in insurmountable difficulty, to whom all doors are closed, who follows the path of the righteous with great difficulty, and whose days are spent in places of heedlessness, rebellion, and sin. O One Who answers when called! O One swift at reckoning! O Munificent and Bestower! Have mercy on him who has severe ills that are hard to cure, and who has small and weak means while stricken with grave misfortune! You are His refuge and his hope.

O God! I complain to You about my difficulties and affliction. O God! My need is my justification, and whatever I have in the name of means is only my lack of means and my helplessness. O God! One drop from the ocean of Your Grace makes me rich, and one droplet from the flood of Your Forgiveness suffices me.

O Loving! O Loving! O Loving! O Owner of the Supreme Throne! O Starter and Returner! O One doing whatever He wills! I ask You, for the sake of the light of Your “Face” that fills all the columns of Your Throne, and Your Power with which You are powerful over all Your creatures, and Your Mercy that embraces all things. There is no god but You, O Helper. I ask You to help me and forgive my sins and the blunders of my tongue during my life, for the sake of Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful! Amen. Amen. Amen.


O ONE WHO RECITES this cry of asking forgiveness! Recite it first on your behalf and then on my behalf for the sake of God. For I lie in my grave unable to do or say anything. I can speak only with your tongue through my book, so speak on my behalf only for the sake of God.


Said Nursi

79 Idols are both objects worshipped and idolized people, such as movie stars, sports personalities, singers, and others. Ironically, people idolized by their admirers or followers must themselves bow before their admirers to preserve their status. (Tr.)