The Second Point

of the Second Topic

When the representative of the people of misguidance could find no support or basis on which to build his misguidance and was thus defeated in argument, he said the following:

“I consider happiness in this world and life’s pleasures, and the progress of civilization and perfection of arts as all lying in refusal to think of the hereafter and to know God, in love of this world, in absolute freedom and licence and in relying exclusively on myself. And in so doing I have drawn most men onto this path, through the assistance of Satan, and continue to do so.”

The Answer: We say, in the name of the Qur’an: O wretched man! Come to your senses! Do not listen to the representative of the people of misguidance. If you do listen to him, your loss will be so great that your intelligence, spirit, and heart will shudder even to imagine it. There are two paths in front of you.

The First: The path of wretchedness laid out in front of you by the representative of the people of misguidance.

The Second: The path of happiness defined for you by the All-Wise Qur’an.

You will have noted and understood numerous comparisons between these two paths in the Words, particularly the Short Words. So, note and understand now one of those thousands of comparisons which is suitable to this discussion.

The path of assigning partners to God, misguidance, dissipation and vice causes man to fall to the lowest degree. Afflicted with infinite pains, he is forced to bear an infinitely heavy load on his weak and powerless shoulders. For if man does not recognize God and place his trust in Him, he becomes extremely weak and impotent, needy and impoverished, a suffering, grieving and ephemeral animal, exposed to endless misfortunes. Suffering continuously the pain of separation from all the objects of love and attachment, he will ultimately abandon all of his loved ones and go alone to the darkness of the grave.

Throughout his life, he struggles vainly, with an extremely limited will, slight power, a short lifespan and dull mind, against infinite pains and hopes. To no avail, he strives to attain innumerable desires and goals.

Even though he is unable to bear the burden of his own being, he takes the load of the vast world onto his wretched shoulders and mind. He suffers the torment of Hell before even arriving there.

Indeed, in order to avoid feeling this grievous pain, this awesome spiritual torment, the people of misguidance have recourse to a drunkenness that is like a form of stupor and thus are temporarily able to avoid feeling their pain. But when they do feel it, they suddenly feel the proximity of the grave. For whoever is not a true bondsman of God Almighty will imagine that he owns himself. But with his partial and limited will and his petty power and strength, he is unable to administer and control his being in this tempestuous world. He sees thousands of different sorts of enemy attacking his life, from harmful microbes to earthquakes. In an awesome state of painful fear he looks towards the door of the grave, that at all times appears dreadful to him.

While in this state, man will also be troubled by the state of the world and of mankind, for as a human being he is attached to both. But, he does not imagine them to be in the control of One All-Wise, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Merciful and Generous, and has attributed them instead to chance and to nature. And so, together with his own pains, he suffers also the pains of the world and of mankind. Earthquakes, plagues, storms, famine and scarcity, separation and decease; all of this torments him in the most painful and sombre fashion.

But such a man is not worthy of pity and sympathy, for he himself is responsible for it.

In the Eighth Word is a comparison between two brothers who entered a well. One was not content with a refreshing, sweet, reputable, pleasant and licit drink at a splendid feast with pleasant friends in a beautiful garden and so drank some ugly and unclean wine in order to obtain illicit and impure pleasure. He became drunk and then imagined himself to be in some foul place in the middle of winter surrounded by wild beasts, and trembling cried out.

But such a man is not worthy of pity, for he imagined his honourable and blessed companions to be monsters, and thus insulted them. He also imagined the delicious foods and clean dishes at the feast to be impure and filthy stones and began smashing them. And the respected books and profound writings there to be meaningless and banal designs, and so ripped them up and trod on them.

Such a person is not merely unworthy of sympathy, rather, he deserves a good beating.

In exactly the same way, a person who, through incorrect choice and the lunacy of misguidance, is intoxicated with unbelief, imagines this hospice of the world, which belongs to the All-Wise Maker, to be the plaything of chance and natural forces. He fancies the passage of creatures into the World of the Unseen, that is in fact renewing the manifestation of the Divine Names, to be execution and annihilation. He supposes the echoes of those creatures’ glorification of God, who are accomplishing their duties with the passing of time, to be the lamentations of death and eternal separation. He deems the pages of created beings, which are inscriptions of the Eternally Besought One, to be meaningless and confused. He imagines the door of the grave, which opens onto the world of mercy, to be the entrance to the darkness of non-existence. And he deems the appointed hour, which is in reality an invitation to join his true friends, to be the onset of separation from all of them.

Such a person both brings upon himself grievous and ghastly torments, and denies, denigrates and insults all beings and God’s Names and His inscriptions. He is, therefore, not only unworthy of compassion and sympathy but also deserving of severe punishment. He is not in any way worthy of pity.

And so, O wretched people of misguidance and dissipation! What accomplishment of yours, what art, what perfection, what civilization, what progress, can confront this awesome silence of the grave, this crushing despair? Where can you find that true consolation that is the most urgent need of the human spirit?

What nature, what causality, what partner ascribed by you to God, what discovery, what nationality, what false object of worship, in each of which you place so much trust and to which you attribute God’s works and His sustaining bounties, which of them can deliver you from the darkness of death that you imagine to be eternal annihilation? Which of them can enable you to cross the frontiers of the grave, the boundaries of the intermediate realm, the marches of the plain of resurrection, the Bridge of Sirat? Or can bring about your eternal happiness?

But know that most definitely you will travel on this path for you cannot close the door of the grave. And a traveller on such a path ought to rely on one whose control and command embraces all this vast sphere and its extensive boundaries.

O wretched people of misguidance and neglect! In accordance with the principles that ‘the consequence of an illicit love is suffering a merciless torment,’ you are suffering a fully justified punishment, for you are unlawfully employing your innate capacity for love, knowledge, thanks and worship that relate properly to the essence, attributes and Names of God Almighty, on your own soul and the life of this world.

You have lavished the love that belongs to God Almighty on yourself. Your own soul has become your beloved and will cause you endless suffering: you are not giving true peace to that beloved. You are suffering constantly because you do not hand it over to the Possessor of Absolute Power Who is the only true beloved and you do not trust wholly in Him.

You suffer further misfortunes because you give to the world the love that belongs to God Almighty’s Names and attributes and divide up the works of His art among causes in the world. One group of those innumerable beloveds of yours will turn their backs on you and leave you without even saying good-bye. Another group will not even recognize you, or if they do, they will not love you. Or if they love you, their love will be of no use. You will constantly suffer from innumerable separations and farewells without hope of return.

This, then, is the essence and true nature of what the people of misguidance call life’s happiness, human perfection, the advantages of civilization and the pleasure of freedom. And dissipation and intoxication are but a veil; they temporarily block all feeling. So, say, “I spit on the intelligence of those who follow such a path.”

But as for the luminous highway of the Qur’an, it cures with the truths of faith all the wounds of the people of misguidance. It disperses all the gloom and darkness of that first path. It closes the door on all misguidance and perdition.

It cures man’s weakness, powerlessness, poverty and need with trust in One All-Powerful and Compassionate. For, handing over the burden of his life and being to His power and mercy instead of loading it on himself, man finds ease and comfort as if he were riding on his own life and soul. The Qur’an states that he is not a ‘rational animal’, but rather a true man and a well-accepted guest of the All-Merciful One.

It gently cures man of the wounds inflicted on him by the transience of the world, the ephemeral nature of things and the love of them, and delivers him from the darkness of delusion and fancy. It does this by showing the world to be a guest-house of the All-Merciful One, and the beings in it to be mirrors to the Divine Names and ever-fresh inscriptions of the Eternally Besought One.

It shows death and the appointed hour to be the bridge to the intermediate realm and the prelude to joining and meeting beloved ones already in the world of eternity. It thus cures the wounds inflicted by the notion of death as eternal separation, as held by the people of misguidance. It demonstrates that separation is in fact the truest form of meeting.

Further, by establishing that the grave is a door opening onto the world of mercy, an abode of happiness, a garden of Paradise, the luminous realm of the All-Merciful One, it dispels man’s most terrifying fear and shows that the apparently painful, troublesome and unpleasant journey to the intermediate realm is in fact the most pleasurable, enjoyable and joyous of journeys. With the grave, it shows that the grave is not a dragon’s mouth but is, rather, a door opening onto the garden of mercy.

The Qur’an also says to the believer, “Since you have only partial and restricted choice, hand over your affairs to your Owner’s universal will. Since your power is slight, rely on that of the Possessor of Absolute Power. Since your life is brief, think of eternal life. Do not fret! There is an unending life. If your mind is dull, let the sun of the Qur’an shine on you. Look with the light of belief, and instead of the fire-fly of your own mind, each verse of the Qur’an will illumine you like a star.

“Since you have innumerable hopes and pains, know that infinite reward and limitless mercy await you. Since you have innumerable desires and aims, do not think of them and become disturbed. This world cannot contain them; the proper place for them is another realm, and the one who will grant them is one other than yourself.”

The Qur’an also says, “O man! You do not own yourself. Rather, you are totally owned by One Whose power is infinite, an All-Compassionate One of Glory Whose mercy is infinite. Therefore, do not trouble yourself by shouldering the burden of your life, for it is He Who grants you life and administers it.

“Also, the world is not without an owner. So do not be anxious thinking of the state of it and load that burden onto your mind, for the world’s Owner is All-Wise and All-Knowing. You are a guest so do not be officious and meddlesome.

“Furthermore, creatures such as men and animals have not been left to their own devices, rather, they are all officials with specific duties. They are watched over by an All-Wise and Compassionate One. Do not distress your spirit thinking of their pains and afflictions. Do not try to be more sympathetic and kind-hearted than their All-Compassionate Creator.

“Also, the reins of all those things that are hostile to you, from microbes to plagues, storms, famine and earthquakes, are in the hands of that All-Compassionate All-Wise One. Being All-Wise, He does nothing in vain. Being All-Compassionate, His mercy is superabundant. There is a form of grace and favour contained in everything He does.”

The Qur’an also says, “This world is indeed ephemeral, nevertheless, it produces the necessities for an everlasting world. It is transient and fleeting, but it yields eternal fruits, and displays the manifestations of an Eternal Being’s eternal Names. Its pleasures are indeed few and its pains many, but the favours of the All-Merciful and Compassionate One are everlasting and true pleasures. And as for the pains of this world, they too yield a sort of pleasure by reason of the reward to be had for enduring them.

“Since the sphere of the licit is sufficient for all the pleasures, delights and joys of the spirit, heart and soul, do not approach the sphere of the illicit. For one pleasure within that sphere sometimes leads to a thousand pains. It will also cause the loss of the All-Merciful One’s favours, which are true and lasting pleasures.

“Furthermore, as described above, illicit pleasure on the path of misguidance causes man to fall to the lowest of the low. Then no civilization, no philosophy can provide a remedy for him, and no human progress and scientific advances can deliver him from that deep, dark pit. Whereas, the All-Wise Qur’an elevates man, through belief and good deeds, from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, and demonstrates that it does this with clear proofs. And it fills in that deep pit with rungs of inner development and spiritual progress.

“Moreover, it facilitates man’s long, stormy and troublesome journey towards eternity. It shows him the means for traversing a distance of a thousand years, or rather of fifty thousand years, in a single day.

“Also, through making known the All-Glorious One, Who is the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, it confers on man the position of a bondsman, guest and official entrusted with specific duties. And it ensures that he travels with the greatest ease both in the guest-house of this world and in the stages and stopping-places of the intermediate realm and the hereafter.

“A loyal official will travel in his monarch’s kingdom and pass through the frontiers of each province with ease, journeying by the fastest means, such as by aeroplane, ship or train. So too one who forms a relation with the Pre-Eternal Monarch through belief and obeys Him through good works will pass with the speed of lightning or of Buraq through the stages of this guest-house of the world, the spheres of the intermediate realm and the world of resurrection and the extensive frontiers of all the realms that are beyond the grave, until he attains eternal happiness.” The Qur’an proves this truth decisively and points it out to those who are purified and to the saints.

The truth of the Qur’an also says, “O believer! Do not give your infinite capacity for love to your ugly, defective, evil, and for you, harmful instinctual soul. Do not take it as your object of love and its whims as your object of worship. Take rather the One Who has bestowed on you that infinite capacity for love. He will also make you infinitely happy in the future, and, through His bounties, all those to whom you are attached and whose happiness makes you happy.

“Take for your object of love and worship One Who possesses infinite perfection and a beauty that is infinitely sacred, exalted, transcendent, faultless, flawless and unfading. The beauty of His mercy and the mercy of His beauty are demonstrated by all the beauties and bounties of Paradise. All of His Names are infinitely beautiful and in each of them are abundant lights of fairness and beauty. His beauty and perfection are indicated and pointed to by all the fairness, beauty, virtue and perfection of all lovable and loved objects in the cosmos.”

The Qur’an also says, “O man! Do not squander your infinite capacity to love, which properly belongs to His Names and attributes, on other transient creatures. For the works and creatures of God are ephemeral, but the Beautiful Names, whose impress and manifestation may be seen on them, are eternal and permanent. And in each of His Names and attributes there are thousands of degrees of bounty and beauty, perfection and love. Look only at the Name of All-Merciful: Paradise is a manifestation of it, eternal happiness, a flash of it, and all the sustenance and bounty in the world, a mere drop of it.”

Consider carefully, then, this verse which indicates the true nature of the people of misguidance and that of the people of belief, with regard to their lives and duties:

Verily We have created man in the fairest of forms, then sent him down to the lowest of the low, except for those who believe and do good deeds.1

And this verse that indicates their final result and outcome:

The heavens and the earth wept not over them.2

How sublimely and miraculously they express the comparison we have made. Since the truth expressed miraculously and concisely in the first verse is explained in detail in the Eleventh Word, we refer our readers to that part of the Risale-i Nur for a discussion of it.

As for the second verse, we shall show, through a brief indication, how sublime a truth it expresses. It is as follows.

The explicit meaning of the verse is that the heavens and the earth do not weep when the people of misguidance die. The implied meaning is that the heavens and the earth do weep when the people of belief depart this world. For the people of misguidance, through their denial of the duties and functions of the heavens and earth, their ignorance of their meaning, their rejection of their value, their refusal to recognize their Maker, are in fact acting insultingly and with hostility toward them. So, of course, the heavens and earth will not weep over them, but in fact curse them and rejoice at their death.

As for the implied meaning, that the heavens and earth weep over the death of the people of belief, this is because they know the duties and functions of the heavens and earth, assent to their true realities, and understand, through belief, the meanings they express. They say, “How beautifully they have been made, how finely they are carrying out their duties.” They respect them and assign them their true worth. They love them and the Names they mirror for the sake of God Almighty. And so it is for this reason that the heavens and earth grieve over the death of the people of belief as if weeping.