Surely, God has bought from the believers their selves in return for Paradise. (9:111)



KNOW, O FRIEND, that: What deceives you with respect to your All-Munificent Lord (82:6) means that He buys the property He entrusted to you for your benefit and for a high price.110 He buys it, while you hold it in your hand and benefit from it, to preserve it from being lost and so that it may grow in value. Profit upon profit!

But you reject this transaction and break His trust in you. You decrease its value from the highest height to the lowest depth, and then it goes in vain. You are deprived of the great price He offers, and endure suffering and difficulty, pain and hardship to maintain it for a very short time. You also endure the sins you commit thereby. Loss upon loss!

You resemble a person standing on a mountain top. An earthquake occurs, causing you to fall into crevice and lose whatever is in your hand. You are like one “just about to fall into a pit of fire or an abode of ruin from the brink of a crumbling precipice.” Yet you still hold the marvelous device entrusted to you that can produce limitless fruit and benefit. At this time, the device’s true owner, purely out of compassion, offers to buy it from you:


To preserve it and return it after you are saved, I will buy this piece of my property as if it belonged to you. Use it in my infinitely spacious gardens to recognize and measure the contents of my overflowing treasures so that its value may increase. In return, you will receive very high wages. Otherwise, it will become a lowly, ordinary device of the kind used in your abdomen’s narrow cavities that, compared with my gardens and treasures, are worthless. How can those cavities contain the device entrusted to you, which not even the world can contain? I will give you a very high price for it.

As long as you are on this mountain, I will not take possession of it, but only preserve and manage it so that you can maintain it easily. If you accept, use it in my name and on my behalf, as a soldier controlling what he holds in his hand in the king’s name or on his behalf, without fear of what will occur or grief for what has taken place. If you do not agree, you will suffer great loss and be treated as a breacher of trust responsible for its perishing.111


The Qur’an describes this transaction and warns: Buy it and gain an extremely high profit: The homecoming of the Hereafter, that is Life if they but knew (29:64). Modern civilization and materialistic philosophy say: Appropriate it. It is but our life of the world (6:29). Consider the difference between the illuminating Divine guidance and misleading human genius.

KNOW, O FRIEND, that the All-Glorified One is near but you are distant from Him. He is as near to you as He is to all people, and is as near to all people as He is to all living beings and all creatures, from the tiniest particles to ether and spirit beings and to those you cannot imagine.

If you want to be near to Him, develop and expand so that you can represent humanity, and then acquire a universal existence to represent creation. Go beyond 70,000 veils. If He is near to you and near to everything else at the same time, you will have to be near to everything. Thereafter, you encounter an infinite space between contingency (the Sphere of Creation) and Necessity (the Sphere of Divinity). How can you reach the One infinitely distant in His nearness? If you desire to be near to Him, renounce and annihilate your selfhood to remove the intervening distance, gain permanence with Him, and acquire nearness to Him.

KNOW, O FRIEND, that God is nearer to us than ourselves, while we are infinitely distant from Him. Among the evidence of His nearness is His control of us. If we look for Him near what He controls, we will find Him near all things. If we could reach Him by representing creation, we would find Him beyond veils of light in the Sphere of Necessity formed of the “worlds” of the Names, Attributes, and Essential Qualities in His Dignity, Grandeur, and Magnificence. But if we look for Him through His nearness by renouncing and annihilating our selfhood, it is easy to find Him, if He wills. There is no strength and power save with Him.

KNOW, O YOU WHO DESIRE to know the difference between the Qur’an’s wisdom and philosophy’s viewpoint. Imagine that there is a copy of the Qur’an written in letters of different precious jewels—gold and silver, diamond and emerald, agate and others. Two people, after seeing and admiring it, decide to write a book on its merits. One is a foreigner who does not understand Arabic and so cannot understand the text’s meaning. The foreigner is an expert jeweler and a specialist in engineering, geometry, and painting, and so his book discusses the visible beauties of the Qur’an’s jeweled letters. The other one realizes what the Qur’an is, and so ignores its physical jewels and concentrates on the jewels of its meaning, the lights of its mysteries, and the truths of its verses, which are infinitely loftier.

O YOU WITH LITTLE SENSE and intellect! Which book deserves to be recognized as containing some of the Qur’an’s wisdom? If you understood this analogy, you will realize that copy of the Qur’an is the universe, the first person represents philosophers and scientists, and the second person represents students of the Qur’an.

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Said Nursi

110 Your selfhood, body, and life, which are in fact His property. (Tr.)

111 Some may see a threat here. However, human existence here is a reality out of human will. Therefore it is much more than a bargain, for God’s creation of us is a pure blessing. How many people complain of being in the world? Is there anybody who does not love life? Only those misusing their willpower and engulfed in dissipation complain about life. No true believer complains. Whatever we do not like in life and in the world is due to the fact that we neglect our responsibilities as the most honored of beings. God’s informing us of how to act in life and then rewarding us with eternal happiness is as great and infinite a blessing as eternity. If some still see a threat, that threat is also pure blessing, as it compels us to find the straight way and attain happiness in both worlds, where a promise is not enough for weak-willed, spiritually corrupt, obstinate persons to change their ways. (Tr.)