A Footnote to the Second Station

of the Thirteenth Word

In His name, be He glorified!

Those in prison are in great need of the true consolation of the Risale-i Nur. Particularly those who having suffered the blows of youth, are passing their sweet, young lives in prison; they need the Risale-i Nur as much as they need bread.

Indeed, youth heeds the emotions rather than reason, and emotions and desires are blind; they do not consider the consequences. They prefer one ounce of immediate pleasure to tons of future pleasure. They kill for the one minute pleasure of revenge, then suffer for eighty thousand hours the pain of prison. And one hour’s dissolute pleasure in questions of honour may result in life’s enjoyment being utterly destroyed due to distress at the fear of both prison and enemies. There are many other examples, many pitfalls for the unfortunate young because of which they transform their sweet lives into the most bitter and pitiable lives.

Consider a vast state to the north;*{Russian.Tr.} it has gained possession of the passions of its young people and is shaking this century with its storms. For it has made lawful for its youths the pleasing daughters and wives of upright people, and these youths act only according to their feelings, which are blind to all consequences. By permitting men and women to go together to the public baths, they are even encouraging immorality. And they consider it lawful for vagabonds and the poor to plunder the property of the rich. All mankind trembles in the face of this calamity.

It is therefore most necessary in this century for all Muslim youths to act heroically, and to respond to this two-pronged attack with keen swords like the Fruits of Belief and the Guide For Youth from the Risale-i Nur. Otherwise those unfortunate youths will destroy utterly both their futures in this world, and their agreeable lives, and their happiness in the hereafter, and their eternal lives, and transform them into torment and suffering. And through their abuses and dissoluteness, they will end up in hospitals, and through their excesses in life, in prisons. In their old age, they will weep copiously with a thousand regrets.

If, on the other hand, they protect themselves with Qur’anic training and with the truths of the Risale-i Nur, they will become truly heroic youths, perfect human beings, successful Muslims, and in some ways rulers over animate beings and the rest of the animal kingdom.

When a youth in prison spends one hour out of the twenty-four each day on the five obligatory prayers, and repents for the mistakes that were the cause of his disaster, and abstains from other harmful, painful sins, this will be of great benefit for both his life, and his future, and his country, and his nation, and his relatives, and he will also gain with his fleeting youth of ten to fifteen years an eternal, brilliant youth. Foremost the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, and all the revealed scriptures, have given this certain good news.

If such a youth demonstrates through moderation and obedience, his gratitude for the pleasing, delightful bounty of youth, it will both increase it, and make it eternal, and make it a pleasure. Otherwise it will be both calamitous, and become painful, grievous, and a nightmare, and then it will depart. It will cause him to become like a vagrant, harmful for both his relatives, and his country, and his nation.

If the prisoner has been sentenced unjustly, on condition he performs the obligatory prayers, each hour will be the equivalent of a day’s worship, and the prison will be like a recluse’s cell. He will be counted among the pious hermits of olden times who retired to caves in order to devote themselves to worship. If he is poor, aged, and ill, and desirous of the truths of belief, on condition he performs the obligatory prayers and repents, each hour will become the equivalent of twenty hours’ worship, and prison will become like a rest-house for him, and because of his friends there who regard him with affection, a place of love, training, and education. He will probably be happier staying in prison than being free, for outside he is confused and subject to the assaults of sins from all sides. He may receive a complete education from prison. On being released, it will not be as a murderer, or thirsting for revenge, but as someone penitent, proven by trial, well-behaved, and beneficial for his nation. In fact, the Denizli prisoners became so extraordinarily well-behaved after studying the Risale-i Nur for only a short time that some of those concerned said: “Studying the Risale-i Nur for fifteen weeks is more effective at reforming them than putting them in prison for fifteen years.”

Since death does not die, and the appointed hour is unknown, it may come at any time; and since the grave cannot be closed, and troop after troop enter it and are lost; and since it has been shown through the truths of the Qur’an that for those who believe death is transformed into the discharge papers releasing them from eternal annihilation, while for the corrupt and the dissolute it is disappearing for ever into eternal annihilation, and is unending separation from their loved ones and all beings, most certainly and with no doubt at all, the most fortunate person is he who with patience and thanks fully benefits from his time in prison, and studying the Risale-i Nur works to serve the Qur’an and his belief on the straight path.

O man who is addicted to enjoyment and pleasure! I am seventy-five years old, and I know with utter certainty from thousands of experiences, proofs, and events that true enjoyment, pain-free pleasure, grief-free joy, and life’s happiness are only to be found in belief and in the sphere of the truths of belief. While a single worldly pleasure yields numerous pains; as though dealing ten slaps for a single grape, it drives away all life’s pleasure.

O you unfortunate people who are experiencing the misfortune of prison! Since your world is weeping and your life is bitter, strive so that your hereafter will not also weep, and your eternal life will smile and be sweet! Benefit from prison! Just as sometimes under severe conditions in the face of the enemy, an hour’s watch may be equivalent to a year’s worship, so in the severe conditions you are experiencing, the hardship of each hour spent as worship becomes the equivalent of many hours, it transforms that hardship into mercy.

In His Name, be He glorified!

My dear and loyal brothers!

I shall explain in three ‘Points’ an effective solace for those who are experiencing the calamity of prison, and for those who kindly help them and faithfully supervise their food, which comes from outside.

First Point: Each day spent in prison may gain as much as ten days’ worship, and, with regards to their fruits, may transform those transient hours into enduring hours, and through five or ten years’ punishment may be the means of saving a person from millions of years of eternal imprisonment. For the believers, the condition for gaining this most significant and valuable advantage is to perform the obligatory prayers, repent for the sins that were the cause of their imprisonment, and offer thanks in patience. For sure, prison is an obstacle to many sins; it does not provide the opportunity for them.

Second Point: Just as the cessation of pleasure causes pain, so does the cessation of pain give pleasure. Yes, on thinking of past happy, enjoyable days, everyone feels a pang of regret and longing, and says: “Alas!”, and recalling calamitous, unhappy days of the past, experiences a sort of pleasure since they are passed, and says: “Praise and thanks be to God, that calamity has left its reward and departed.” He breathes a sigh of relief. That is to say, an hour’s temporary pain and sorrow leave behind a sort of pleasure in the spirit, while a pleasurable hour leaves a pain.

Since the reality is thus; and since past calamitous hours together with their pains are no longer existent, and future distressing days are at the present time non-existent, and there is no pain from nothing, to continually eat bread and drink water today, for example, because of the possibility of being hungry and thirsty in several days’ time, is most foolish. In just the same way, to think now of the past and future unhappy hours, which simply do not exist, and to display impatience, and ignoring one’s faulty self, to moan as though complaining about God is also most foolish. So long as the power of patience is not scattered to left and right, that is, to the past and future, and is held firm in the face of the present of hour and day, it is sufficient. The distress is reduced from ten to one.

In fact, but let it not be complaining, Divine favour pointed out the above fact to me while, during a few days of material and spiritual affliction, illness and trial the like of which I had never before experienced in my life, I was being crushed in particular by the despair and distress of the heart and spirit which resulted from my being unable to serve the Qur’an and belief with the Risale-i Nur. I was then content with my distressing illness and imprisonment. For, saying: “It is great profit for an unfortunate like myself who waits at the door of the grave to make one hour which might be passed in heedlessness ten hours’ worth of worship,” I gave thanks.

Third Point: There is great gain in compassionately aiding and assisting prisoners, in giving them the sustenance they need, and in soothing their spiritual wounds with consolation. Giving them their food which comes from outside is like alms-giving which, exactly to the amount of the food, is written in the book of good deeds of those, outside and inside, who do this, together with the warders concerned. Especially if the unhappy prisoner is old, ill, poor, or a stranger, then the reward of this alms-giving increases many times over.

The condition of this high profit is to perform the obligatory prayers so that such service is for God’s sake. Another condition is to hasten to their assistance with sincerity, compassion and joy, and in such a way as to not make them feel obliged.

In His Name, be He glorified!

And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.

My friends in prison and brothers in religion!

It occurred to me to explain a truth to you which will save you from both worldly torment and the torment of the hereafter. It is as follows:

For example, a person killed someone’s brother or one of his relatives. A murder which yields one minute’s pleasure of revenge causes millions of minutes of both distress for the heart and the anguish of prison. And the fear of revenge by the murdered man’s relatives, and anxiety of finding himself face to face with his enemy drives away all his pleasure in life. He suffers the torment of both fear and anger. There is only one solution for this, and that is reconciliation, which the Qur’an commands, and truth, reality, benefit, humanity, and Islam require and encourage.

Certainly, what is required in reality is peace, because the appointed hour is set, it does not change. Since his appointed hour had come, in any event the murdered man would have stayed no longer. As for the murderer, he was the means of God’s decree being carried out. So long as there is no reconciliation, both sides perpetually suffer the torments of fear and revenge. It is because of this that Islam commands that “one believer should not be vexed with another believer for more than three days.”(*){Muslim, Birr, 25} If the murder was not the result of a vindictive grudge and enmity, and a two-faced trouble-maker instigated the discord, it is essential to make peace quickly. Otherwise, that minor disaster becomes a large one, and continues. If they make peace, and the murderer repents and prays continuously for the man he killed, then both sides will gain much and become like brothers. In place of one departed brother, he will gain several religious brothers. He will be resigned to Divine Decree and Determining and forgive his enemy. Especially since they heed the lessons of the Risale-i Nur, both individual and public peace and well-being, and the brotherhood that there is in the sphere of the Risale-i Nur, require that they put aside all the hard feelings that exist between them.

It was thus in Denizli Prison; all the prisoners who were enemies became brothers through the lessons of the Risale-i Nur. It was one reason for our acquittal, and caused even the irreligious and ungodly to say about those prisoners: “Masha’llah! Barakallah!” And it was an utter relief for those prisoners. I myself have seen here a hundred men suffer inconvenience on account of one man and not go out to take exercise together. It is oppression towards them. A manly believer of sound conscience will not cause hundreds of other believers harm because of some insignificant and minor error or benefit. If he makes a mistake and does cause harm, he should repent immediately.

In His Name, be He glorified!

My loyal new brothers and old prisoners!

I have formed the firm conclusion that, in respect of Divine favour, you are an important cause in our entering here. That is to say, with its consolation and the truths of belief, the Risale-i Nur is to save both you from the distress of this calamity of prison and from much worldly harm, and your life from passing profitlessly and in vain through grief and sorrow and being wasted on the winds of fancy, and your hereafter from weeping like your world is weeping now; it is to provide you with true solace.

Since the reality of the matter is this, of course you must be brothers to one another, like the Denizli prisoners and Students of the Risale-i Nur. You can see that they examine all your possessions, food, bread, and soup which come from outside so that a knife does not get in among you and you do not attack one another. The warders who faithfully serve you suffer much trouble. Also, you do not go out to exercise together, as though you were going to attack one another like wild beasts. And so, new friends, who are by nature bold and courageous, with great moral courage you should say to the group at this time:

“If not knives, but Mausers and revolvers were given us, and the order to fire as well, we would not hurt our friends who are unfortunate and suffering this calamity like ourselves. Through the guidance and at the command of the Qur’an, and belief, and Islamic brotherhood, and our interests, we have decided to forgive them and to try not to offend them, even if formerly there were a hundred reasons for our enmity and hostility.” And so transform this prison into an auspicious place of study.