Getting out of the dungeon of inactivity


QUESTION: Why have we fallen into the dungeon of inactivity?

ANSWER: Life consists of endeavor; enthusiasm is its mount. When you ride upon enthusiasm and go out into the arena of life, you will first encounter despair, which is your severest enemy. It disheartens you. Combat this enemy with the sword of Do not despair! (39:53).

Then, the tyranny of the inclination to be superior to others, which is found in the arena of serving the truth (here, there is a free place for everyone who wants to serve) begins to attack. Striking endeavor on the head, it causes you to fall off your mount. Dispatch the truth of Be and strive for God’s sake only against this enemy.

Afterwards, haste emerges and confuses the way by inciting you not to ascend all the steps, one by one, toward your goal. It prevents the endeavor from going further. Shield against this with: Be patient, encourage each other to patience and help each other with it, and observe your duties in solidarity (3:200).

Humans are civilized by nature, and are responsible for preserving the rights of their fellow-humans and living together with them to attain their due. However, after hastiness, the tendency toward isolation from others and individuality appears before you. Against this, dispatch the noble, altruistic warrior, The best of people are those who are the most useful and beneficial for people.

Then, customs find an opportunity in the laziness of others and attack you, making you immobile. Take refuge in the formidable castle of Those who seek a point of reliance should rely on God only, not on others.

Then comes the pitiless enemy of leaving the fulfillment of duties to one another, which arises from a lack of confidence in your way and impotence. Endeavor is prevented from any attempt. Elevate endeavor high to the peak of Those who go astray can do you no harm if you yourselves are rightly guided (5:105), so that the hand of that enemy cannot reach even the feet of endeavor.

Then comes the irreligious enemy that makes the fulfillment of a duty dependent upon absolute success, which means intervention in God’s judgment and acts. It slaps endeavor in the face and punches it in the eye. Dispatch the dutiful truth of Pursue what is right as you are commanded (11:112), and Do not attempt to dominate your master, so that endeavor learns its place.

Lastly comes the tendency to ease and comfort, the mother of all difficulties and the nest of all vices. This causes a loss of endeavor and casts you into the dungeon of deprivation and misery. Dispatch the noble warrior, Man has only that for which he labors (53:39) against this sorcerer. There is great ease in hardship, for the ease of an enthusiastic one lies only in strife and endeavor.

(From Munazarat [“Discussions”])

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi