The Flowers from the Seeds of Truth-3


In an assembly in the World of Representations or Ideal Forms

Comparisons between the Shari‘a and modern civilization,

and between scientific genius and the guidance of the Shari‘a


In a true dream on a Friday night at the beginning of the period of truce following World War I, I was asked by a supreme assembly in the World of Representations and Ideal Forms:

“What will emerge in the Muslim world following the defeat?” I replied, as the representative of the present age, and they listened to me:

From the times of its foundation, this State saw itself as duty-bound to sacrifice itself for the Islamic world and as the standard-bearer of the Caliphate,

And accordingly it undertook jihad, a collective religious obligation, to maintain Islamic independence and exalt the Word of God.

Over time, the calamity that has struck this State, this Muslim nation, will certainly bring prosperity and freedom to the Muslim world.

This present disaster will be compensated for in the future. One who loses three and gains three hundred in return makes no loss. As a zealous laborer, they change their present for a better future.

For this calamity has aroused compassion and Islamic solidarity and brotherhood, the yeast or catalyst of our lives, to an extraordinary degree; it has given a wonderful impetus to our brotherhood.

The present civilization, which is in fact meanness, will change form, and its system will be demolished; it is then that an Islamic civilization will emerge. Muslims will certainly be the first to enter it voluntarily.

If you want a comparison between the civilization of the Shari‘a and the present one, closely examine the principles of each and consider their consequences:

The principles of present-day civilization are negative. Its foundations and values are five negative principles. Its machinery is based on these.

Its point of support and reliance is might or force rather than right, and the basic characteristic of force is aggression and hostility, from which treachery arises.

Its goal is, instead of virtue, the gratification of mean self-interest, the essential characteristic of which is conflict and rivalry, and the consequence of which is crime.

Its law of life is conflict rather than cooperation and mutual helping; the essential characteristic of conflict is contention and mutual repulsion; the consequence is poverty.

Its basic bond between peoples is racism or racial discrimination, which develops to the detriment of others; it is nourished and strengthened by the right of others being devoured.

Negative nationalism or racism paves the way for constant, terrible clashes, disastrous collisions; the result is destruction.

The fifth is this: the enchanting service of the present civilization excites lusts and passions, facilitating the gratification of animal desires; the consequence is dissipation.

The basic characteristic of lusts and passions is always this: they transform humans into beasts, changing their character; they deform them, perverting their humanity.

Most of these civilized people – if you were to turn them inside out – would appear as apes and foxes, snakes, bears, and swine. Their characters have appointed their forms. They appear to the imagination in their furs and skins!

By contrast, the Shari‘a, is the balance of the earth. The mercy in the Shari‘a comes from the heaven of the Qur’an. The principles of the Qur’anic civilization are positive. Its mechanism for happiness turns on five positive principles:

Its point of support and reliance is right instead of might and the unchanging characteristic of right is justice and balance, which give rise to salvation, security and well-being, removing wretchedness and villainy.

Its aim is virtue instead of self-interest and the basic character of virtue is love and mutual attraction. Happiness arises from these, and enmity disappears.

Its principle in life is cooperation instead of conflict and killing, and the essential characteristic of cooperation is unity and solidarity; these enliven the community.

In place of lust and passion, its form of service is guidance and the essential characteristic of guidance is progress and prosperity in a way that is befitting to humanity, as well as enlightenment and perfection in a way that is required by the spirit.

While racism and negative nationalism destroy the point of unity among the masses, the bonds the Shari‘a establishes between peoples are those of religion, citizenship, profession, and the brotherhood of belief.

The basic characteristics of these bonds are sincere brother/sisterhood, and general salvation, security and well-being. The Shari‘a only demands self-defense in the case of external attacks.

Now you have understood why Muslims have remained distant from the present civilization without adopting it.

Up to the present, Muslims have not entered this present civilization voluntarily, it has not suited them; rather, on them have been clamped the fetters of bondage.

While it should have been the cure for humankind, this civilization has become the poison. It has cast eighty per cent of the population into destitution and misery and given false happiness to ten per cent.

The remaining ten per cent has been left uneasy, stranded between the two. The profits that come from trade have gone to the tyrannical minority. But true happiness is the happiness shared by all, or at least salvation for the majority. The Qur’an, revealed as a mercy for humankind, only accepts civilization of the kind

That brings happiness to all, or at least to the majority. In the present civilization, passions are unrestricted, impulses and fancies too are free; this is an animal freedom.

Passions dominate people, impulses and fancies too are despotic; they have made unnecessary needs essential ones, and banished ease and relief.

While in primitive life a person was in need of four things, civilization has made them needy of a hundred, and impoverished them.

Lawful labor is insufficient to meet the cost. This has driven humanity towards fraud and the unlawful. It is due to this that civilization has corrupted the essence of morality.

It has given certain wealth and glitter to society and the human species, but it has made the individual immoral and indigent. There are numerous testimonies to this.

All of the savagery and crimes in former times and all the cruelty and treachery have been vomited by this malignant civilization all at once, and its stomach is still retching.22

The fact that the Islamic world is able to remain aloof is both meaningful and noteworthy. It has been reluctant to accept this civilization, and has acted coldly.

Truly, the distinguishing quality of the Divine light in the illustrious Shari‘a is independence and self-sufficiency.

It is due to this quality that the light of guidance has never allowed the genius of Rome, the spirit of (European) civilization, to dominate it.

The guidance of the Shari‘a cannot be combined with the philosophy of the latter, nor be grafted onto it, nor follow it.

The compassion and the dignity of belief to be found in the spirit of Islam, and the truths of the Shari‘a which it has nourished – the Qur’an of miraculous exposition has been taken the truths of the Shari‘a in its shining hand;

Each of these truths of the Shari‘a is a Staff of Moses in that shining hand. In the future that sorcerer civilization will prostrate in wonderment before it.

Now, note this: there were two geniuses – Ancient Greece and Rome, those twins from a single stock. One was imaginative, the other materialist.

Like water and oil, they never combined. Such a phenomenon required time, civilization strove to do so and Christianity tried, but none has been able to combine them.

Both preserved their partial independence. They have remained as if two spirits (in a single body); now they have changed their bodies; one has become German, the other French.

They have experienced a sort of reincarnation. O my dream-brother! This is what time has shown. Those twin geniuses have rejected any moves to combine them;

They are still not reconciled. Since they are twins, they are brothers and friends, companions in progress; but they have fought and never made peace.

How could it therefore be that the light of the Qur’an and the guidance of the Shari‘a, when it has a completely different source, origin, and place of appearance, is reconciled with the genius of Rome, the spirit of modern civilization, and should join and combine with it?

That genius and this guidance – their origins are different: guidance descends from the heavens, genius emerges from the earth. Guidance works in the heart and genius works in the mind.

Genius works in the mind and confuses the heart. Guidance illuminates the spirit, making its seeds sprout and flourish; dark human nature is illuminated by it.

The capacity of guidance for perfection suddenly advances; it makes the carnal soul a docile servant; it gives zealous and endeavoring humans an angelic countenance.

As for genius, it focuses its attention primarily on the carnal soul and physical being; it comes into nature, making the soul an arable field and the carnal potentials develop and flourish;

It subjugates the spirit, causing the seeds to dry up; it displays satanic features in humankind. But guidance gives happiness to both lives – this and the next – and spreads light in both this world and the next, elevating humankind.

Genius, like Antichrist blind in one eye, sees only this life and this world; it is materialist and world-adoring. It turns humans into beasts.

Genius worships deaf nature and serves blind force. But guidance recognizes the conscious Art (manifested as nature) and turns to the wise Power (that gives existence to nature). Genius draws a veil of ingratitude over the earth while guidance scatters the light of thanks.

It is because of this that genius is deaf and blind, while guidance is hearing and seeing. In the view of genius, the bounties of the earth are ownerless booty;

It prompts the desire to usurp and steal them thanklessly, to savagely snap them off from nature.

In the view of guidance, the bounties scattered over the breast of the earth and the face of the universe are the fruits of Mercy; it sees a gracious hand beneath every bounty, and has kissed it in gratitude.

I cannot deny that there are numerous virtues in civilization, but they are neither the property of Christianity, nor the invention of Europe.

Nor are they the product of this century; they are the common property of humanity, produced  as the result of the conjunction of thoughts and studies over time, from the laws of the revealed religions, and emerge out of innate need,

And particularly from the Islamic revolution brought about by the Shari‘a of Muhammad. No one can claim ownership of these.

The leader of the assembly from the World of Representations asked another question:

QUESTION: “Calamities are always the result of treachery but pave the way for reward. O man of the present century! Divine Destiny has dealt a blow and Divine Decree has passed sentence.

“What did you do so that both the Divine Decree and Destiny have so judged you – that the Divine Decree has sentenced you to this calamity and given you a beating?

“It is always the error of the majority which causes general disasters.” I said in reply:

ANSWER: Humankind’s misguided thinking, Nimrod-like obstinacy; Pharaoh-like haughtiness grew and grew on the earth until they reached the heavens. Humanity also offended the sensitive mystery of creation.

It caused the shudders of the last war to pour down from the heavens like the plague and deluge; it caused a heavenly blow to be dealt to the infidel.

This means, the calamity was the calamity of all humankind. The common cause, inclusive of all humankind, was the misguided thinking that arose from materialism – bestial freedom, the despotism of carnal desires and fancies.

Our share in it resulted from our neglect and abandonment of the pillars of Islam. For the Creator the All-Exalted wanted one hour out of the twenty-four.

He ordered us, willed that we, for our good, assign one hour for the five daily Prayers. But out of laziness we gave them up, neglected them in heedlessness.

So we received the following punishment: He made us perform Prayers of a sort during these last five years through a constant, twenty-four hour drill and hardship, keeping us ceaselessly moving and striving.

He also demanded of us one month a year for fasting, but we pitied our carnal souls, so in atonement He compelled us to fast for five years.

He wanted us to pay as Zakah either a fortieth or a tenth of the property He gave us, but out of miserliness we did wrong: we mixed the unlawful with our property, and did not give the Zakah voluntarily.

So He had our accumulated Zakah taken from us, and saved us from what was unlawful in our property. The deed causes the punishment of its kind. The punishment is of the same as the deed.23

Good, righteous acts are of two sorts: one positive and voluntary, the other negative and enforced. All pains and calamities are good deeds, but they are negative and enforced. The hadith that tells us of this24 offers consolation.

This sinful nation has made its ablutions in blood; it has repented with deeds. As an immediate reward, four million, a fifth of this nation, were raised to the degree of sainthood through the rank of martyrdom or warring for God’s sake; this wiped out their sin.

The elevated assembly from the World of Representations appreciated these words.

I woke up suddenly; rather, this was a meeting in true wakefulness before I went to sleep. In my view, wakefulness is a dream and a dream is a sort of wakefulness.

There I was the representative of this age, and here I am Said Nursi!


Rust-covered guidance is still a diamond

The guidance of Islam has rusted, while the genius of the present civilization has been gilded with desires and passions.

Even if a peerless diamond has rusted, it is always preferable to a gilded piece of glass. That diamond has been engraved with a heavenly inscription; the eyes of materialists do not see that peerless inscription; nor can they read it.

Materialists seek everything in matter; their intelligence is in their eyes, they are blind to whatever is spiritual, for bodily eyes are blind to that.


Ignorance takes a metaphor for a fact

If a metaphor falls from the hand of knowledge to that of ignorance, it is transformed into fact, and opens the door onto superstition.

During my childhood I saw an eclipse of the moon. I asked my mother, and she said: “A snake has swallowed it.” I asked her: “Why is it visible, then?” She said: “The snakes there are semi-transparent.”

A metaphor like this is perceived as a reality: At a Divine command, with the earth interposing between the points of intersection of the orbit of the moon and the sun, known as “the head” and “the tail,” the moon is eclipsed.

The two hypothetical arcs that are formed and resemble two snakes were called “Tinninayn (two snakes).” The name was invented to explain an astronomical event figuratively and came to be taken to be in reality that with which it had been compared.


Exaggeration is implicit denigration

Whatever you describe, describe it as it really is. In my view, exaggerated praise is implicit denigration.

Seeing and showing someone or something as having more than what

God has favored them with is, essentially, not a favor to them.



Fame is oppressive

Fame is a despot; it ascribes the property of others to the famous.

Of the witticisms attributed to the famous Nasreddin Hoja25, only its zakah, that is, one-fortieth or at best one-tenth, can belong to him.

The imaginary renown of Rustam-i Sistani plundered an age of the glories of Iran.

His legendary image plundered the heroism of others, and was combined with superstition, thus carrying Rustam-i Sistani beyond the limits of humanity.


Those who suppose the Religion and life to be separable are the cause of disaster

The mistake of the Young Turks26 was that they did not know that our Religion is the basis of our life; they thought the nation and Islam were different from one another.

They imagined the present civilization would endure and dominate, and saw the happiness of life and prosperity as lying within it.

Now time has shown us that the system of civilization is corrupt and harmful27; unequivocal experience has taught us this:

The Religion is the very life of life, its light and its foundation. The revival of this nation is possible only through the revival of the Religion. Muslims have understood this.

In contrast to other cultures, our nation is able to progress to the extent that we adhere to our Religion. It has declined to the degree we neglected it.

This is a historical fact, which we have pretended to forget.


Death is not as terrifying as imagined

It is an incorrect, misguided supposition that makes death terrifying. Death is a change of clothes, or a change of places. It leads from the dungeon to garden.

Whoever desires life should desire martyrdom. The Qur’an tells us that the martyrs are living. Martyrs, who do not experience the pangs of death, know and see themselves to be alive.28

But they find their new lives to be purer. They do not suppose that they have died. Note carefully the difference between them and the dead; it is as the following:

In a dream two persons are walking in a beautiful garden where there is every sort of delight. One knows it is only a dream and receives no pleasure from this.

It gives him no contentment; rather it fills him with regret. However, the other one knows that they are awake, and experiences true joy; this is real for them.

The dream is the shadow of the World of Representations, which is the shadow of the Intermediate Realm. It is due to this that their principles are like one another.


Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

22 That is, the civilization will vomit more terribly. It has vomited in the form of the two world wars in such a fashion that it has soiled the air, ground, and sea, staining them with blood.

23 I did not mention the Hajj in the dream, for neglect of the Hajj and its wisdom drew not calamity, but Divine Wrath, and the punishment it incurred was not atonement for our sins but an increase in our sins. It was the neglect of the elevated Islamic policy, which exists in the Hajj and brings unity of views through mutual acquaintance and cooperation through mutual assistance, and it was neglect of the vast social benefits contained in the Hajj which have prepared the ground for the enemy to employ millions of Muslims against Islam. Those were Indian Muslims! Thinking that he was their enemy, they killed their father (the Ottoman State), and now they are weeping beside his dead body. There are the Tatars and the Caucasian peoples! They understood that the one in whose killing they had collaborated with the enemy was their poor mother, but it was too late! They are weeping at her feet. These are the Arabs! They mistakenly killed their heroic brother, and now in their bewilderment they do not even know how to weep. These are the Africans! They killed their brother unknowingly, now they are lamenting. This is the Muslim world; it heedlessly helped the enemy kill its standard-bearing son, now it is pulling its hair out, groaning and lamenting. Instead of hastening to the Hajj eagerly, which is pure good, millions of Muslims have been made to make long journeys under the enemy flag, which is pure evil. Ponder on this and take heed!

24 The Pride of humankind says: “In whatever circumstance a believer is, it is to his good. This is not so for anyone other than believers. For if something happy happens to him, he thanks God, and this is to his good. If some harm touches him, he remains patient, and this also is to his good.” (Muslim, “Zuhd” 64; ad-Darimi, “Riqaq” 61.) (Tr.)

25 Molla Nasraddin or Nasreddin Hoja was a thirteenth-century Muslim figure who was famous and remembered for his wisdom, legendary wit, funny stories and anecdotes. (Tr.)

26 The Young Turks were biased toward modern Western currents of thought and against the Ottoman administration. They struggled particularly against the government of Sultan Abdulhamid II. (Tr.)

27 This refers to the oppressive, anti-religious civilization, which is moving towards its demise.

28 The Qur’an declares: And say not of those who are killed in God’s cause: “They are dead.” Rather they are alive, but you are not aware (2:154). Do not think at all of those killed in God’s cause as dead. Rather, they are alive; with their Lord they have their sustenance, rejoicing in what God has granted them out of His bounty, and joyful in the glad tidings for those left behind who have not yet joined them, that (in the event of martyrdom) they will have no fear, nor will they grieve. They are joyful in the glad tidings of God’s blessing and bounty (that He has prepared for the martyrs), and in (the promise) that God never leaves to waste the reward of the believers. (3:169–171). (Tr.)