In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.



Surely the pious will be in bliss, while surely the wicked will be in blazing Fire. (82:13-14)


KNOW, O HEEDLESS SAID! There are only two ways in our journey through life to the grave. They are of equal length. One is harmless, and all those with insight and discernment say that it contains great benefit. Ninety percent of those who follow it will obtain that benefit. The other way contains no benefit. In fact, those with discernment and religious scholarship say that it contains great harm. It is 99 percent harmful, but those following it do not have to carry any weapon and food (those following the first way do). They seem to bear no burden, but you do not see their hearts, which bear a burden a hundred times heavier, or their spirits carrying a burden of fright and terror. The following parable clarifies this:

You decide to go to Istanbul. There are two roads of equal length: one on the right and one on the left. Those with discernment, observation, and sufficient experience say that the right road contains many benefits and no harm. Its travelers carry weapons and food, but do not have to worry or fear about being obliged to others (for satisfying their need), which is a tremendous burden. As for the other road, millions of people of experience and religious scholarship say that it contains no benefit, although those who follow it seem to bear no burden and carry no weapons or food. But their spirits are burdened with fear, and their hearts are burdened because they must rely on others to satisfy their need. (Such burdens are a thousand times heavier than carrying a weapon and food.)

Those who have almost completed their journey or have seen what the travelers face both during and after their journey tell us that those following the right way travel in security and, on reaching their destination, nine out of ten of them are welcomed with great reward. Those following the left (dangerous) way suffer fear and hunger and, because of their fear and need, must humble themselves before everything or everyone. When they reach their destination, they either are called to account for their journey or killed, and only one, or at the most two, out of ten are saved. One with even a little intelligence does not choose that which is harmful for the sake of not having to carry a burden. How can something 99 percent harmful be preferred to what is 99 percent beneficial?

You are the traveler, and Istanbul is the Intermediate World of the grave and the Hereafter. The right way is that of the Qur’an, which requires belief and performing the five daily prayers. The left way is that of sin and rebellion. People of discernment and experience are saints who experience the pleasure in Islamic truths. A saint experiences what an ordinary person believes. The weapon and food are the religious obligations. These include the five daily prayers, confirming Divine Unity, relying on God and asking Him for help, and trusting in the All-Powerful, Preserving, and Knowing One as well as on the All-Wealthy, Munificent, and Compassionate. Those following the right way are saved from humbling themselves before whatever or whoever they expect may benefit or harm them, for believing there is no deity but God means that only He can dispense harm or benefit.


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Said Nursi