THE FOURTH TRUTH, which forms the Thirty-Third Degree:

the Truth of Compassionateness and Bestowal of Provision

That is, the giving, over the whole face of the globe, within the earth, in the air above it and the ocean around it, to all animate beings, especially those endowed with spirit, and among them especially the impotent, the weak and the young, all of their necessary sustenance, material and immaterial, in the most solicitous manner, deriving it from dry and rude soil, from solid, bonelike dry pieces of wood, and in the case of the most delicate of all forms of sustenance, from between blood and urine, at the proper time, in orderly fashion, without any omission or confusion, in front of our eyes, by an unseen hand.

Yes, the verse,

God is the Provider, the firm possessor of strength,1

restricts to God the task of sustaining and providing, and the verse,

There is no moving thing on earth but depends on God for its sustenance; He knows its resting-place and storage-place; all is in a book perspicuous2

provides a dominical guarantee and pledge to furnish provision for all men and animals. Similarly, the verse,

The beasts do not carry their sustenance; God sustains them and you, and He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing,3

establishes and proclaims that it is God Who guarantees and provides for all impotent, powerless, weak and wretched creatures that are unable to secure their own sustenance, in an unexpected fashion, indeed from the Unseen or even out of nothing; it is He for example Who provides for insects on the ocean bed and their young. This proclamation is directed in particular to those men who worship causes and are unaware that it is He Who bestows provision from behind the veil of causality. Numerous other verses of the Qur’an and innumerable pieces of cosmic evidence unanimously demonstrate that it is the compassionateness of a single Glorious Provider that nurtures all animate beings.

Now the trees require a certain form of sustenance but have neither power nor will. They remain therefore in their places, trusting in God, and their provision comes hastening to them. So too the sustenance of infants flows to their mouths from wondrous small pumps, aided by the solicitude and tenderness of their mothers. Then when the infants acquire a little power and will, the milk ceases. These various instances clearly prove that licit sustenance is not proportionate to will and power, but comes in relation to weakness and impotence, which induce trust in God.

Will, power and cleverness frequently incite greed, which is a source of loss, and often push certain learned men toward a form of beggary, whereas by contrast the trusting weakness of the boorish, crude and common man may cause him to attain riches.

The proverb, “How many a learned man has striven in vain, and how many an ignoramus gained rich provision,” establishes that licit provision is not won by power and will, but by a mercy that finds working and striving acceptable; it is bestowed by a tenderness that takes pity on need.

Now provision and sustenance is of two kinds:

The First is true and natural provision, that required for life; this is guaranteed by the Sustainer. It is indeed so regular and well-ordered that this natural provision, stored in the body in the form of fat and other things, is enough to ensure survival for at least twenty days, even if nothing is eaten. Those who apparently die of hunger before the twenty or thirty days are up and before the provision stored up in their body is exhausted, die in reality not from a lack of provision, but from a disease arising from lack of caution and the disturbance of fixed habit.

The Second Form of Provision: metaphorical and artifical provision, arising due to addiction from habit, wastefulness and misuse, but acquiring the appearance of necessity. This form is not guaranteed by the Sustainer, but depends on His generosity: sometimes He may give it, sometimes He may not give it.

With respect to this second form of provision and sustenance, happy is he who regards his frugality —a source of happiness and pleasure— contentment and licit striving, as a form of worship and active prayer for sustenance. He accepts God’s bounty gratefully and appreciatively, and passes his life in happpy fashion.

Wretched is he who on account of prodigality —the source of wretchedness and loss— and greed, abandons licit striving, knocks at every door, passes his life in sloth, oppression and wretchedness, and indeed puts his own life to death.

In the same way that a stomach requires sustenance, so too the subtle capacities and senses of man, his heart, spirit, intelligence, eye, ear and mouth, also request their sustenance from the Compassionate Provider and gratefully receive it. To each of them separately and in appropriate form is presented such provision from the treasury of mercy as will rejoice them and give them pleasure. Indeed, the Compassionate Provider, in order to give to them provision in more generous measure has created each of man’s subtle capacities —eye and ear, heart, imagination, and intellect— in the form of a key to His treasury of mercy. For example, the eye is a key to the treasury containing such precious jewels as the fairness and beauty to be seen on the face of the universe, and the same holds true of all the others mentioned; they all benefit through faith. To resume after our digression:

The All-Powerful and Wise One Who created this cosmos created also life as a comprehensive summary of the cosmos, and concentrated all of His purposes and the manifestations of His Names therein. So too, within the realm of life, he made of provision a comprehensive centre of activity and created within animate beings the taste for provision, thus causing animate beings to respond to His dominicality and love with a permanent and universal gratitude, thankfulness, and worship that is one of the significant purposes and instances of wisdom inherent in the creation of the universe.

For example, it is one of the activities of dominicality to cause every area of the broad realm of dominicality to rejoice — the heavens are caused to rejoice with the angels and spirit beings, the World of the Unseen with spirits, and the material world, particularly the air and the earth, with the existence of all animate beings, particularly birds, great and small, at all times and places. Through the wisdom of this causing to rejoice and the infusion of life and spirit, animals and men are, as it were, whipped by the need for provision and the pleasure they take therein to pursue their provision and sustenance, thus being delivered from sloth. This too is one of the wise activities of dominicality. Were it not for such significant instances of wisdom, the provision destined for animals would be caused instinctively to hasten toward them to satisfy their needs, without any effort on their part, just as provision and sustenance is caused to hasten toward the tree.

Were there to be an eye capable of witnessing and comprehending the whole surface of the earth at one time, in order to perceive the beauties of the Names of Compassionate and Provider and the witness they bear to Divine unity, it would see what sweet beauty is contained in the tender and solicitous manifestation of the Compassionate Provider Who sends to the caravans of animals at the end of winter, when their provision is about to be exhausted, extremely delicious, abundant and varied foods and bounties, drawn exclusively from His unseen treasury of mercy, as succour from the unseen and Divine generosity, placed in the hands of plants, the crowns of trees, and the breasts of mothers. The possessor of that all-seeing eye would realize the following:

The making of a single apple, and the generous giving of it to a man as true sustenance and provision, can be accomplished only by a Being Who causes the seasons, the nights and the days to rotate, Who causes the globe to revolve like a cargo ship, and thus brings the fruits of the seasons within reach of those needy guests of the earth who stand waiting for them. For the stamp of its nature, the seal of wisdom, the imprint of eternal besoughtedness, the signet of mercy that is to be found on the surface of the apple, is to be found also on all apples and other fruits, plants and animals. Hence the true Master and Maker of the apple is bound to be the Glorious Sovereign, the Beauteous Creator of all the inhabitants of the world, who are the peers, the congeners and the brothers of the apple; of the vast earth that is the garden of the apple; of the tree of the cosmos that is its factory; of the seasons that are its workshop; and of the spring and summer that are its place of maturing.

In other words, every fruit is a seal of unity that makes known the Writer and Maker of the earth, its tree, and of the book of the universe, its garden; it demonstrates His unity, and shows to the number of fruits, the seal affixed to the decree of unity.

Since the Risale-i Nur is a manifestation of the Names of All-Compassionate and All-Wise, and numerous flashes and mysteries of the truth of Compassionateness have been expounded and proved in many parts of the Risale-i Nur, we leave further discussion of the matter to those parts and content ourselves with this brief indication, out of a vast treasury, on account of the unfavourable circumstances from which we are now suffering.

Our traveller now says: “Praise be to God! I have seen and heard Thirty-Three Truths bearing witness to the necessary existence and unity of the Creator and Sovereign I was everywhere seeking and enquiring after. Each of the truths is bright as the sun and leaves no darkness behind. It is as strong and unshakeable as a mountain. Each of them, with its verifications, bears decisive witness to His existence, and with its comprehensiveness proves His unity in manifest fashion. While proving implicitly all the pillars of faith, the totality and consensus of these truths causes our belief to advance from imitation to realization, from realization to knowledge of certainty, from knowledge of certainty to vision of certainty, and from vision of certainty to absolute certainty. Praise be to God; this is from the bounty of my Sustainer.”

Praise be to God Who guided us to this; verily we would not have been guided unless God had guided us. The messengers of God have come to us with the truth.1

In extremely brief allusion to the lights of belief derived by our inquisitive traveller from the four sublime truths he witnessed at the Third Stopping-Place, it was said in the Second Chapter of the First Station, concerning the truths of the Third Stopping-Place:

There is no god other than God, the One, the Unique, to Whose Unity in Necessary Existence points the witnessing of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of opening, through the unfolding of different forms of four hundred thousand species of living beings, perfect and without defect, according to the testimony of biology and botany; the witnessing of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of mercifulness, all-embracing and regular, without any deficiency, as the eye can see; the witnessing of the sublimity of the truth of administering, that encompasses in orderly fashion all living beings, without error or defect; the witnessing of the sublimity of the comprehensivness of the truth of compassionateness and sustaining, embracing all consumers of sustenance, at every time of need, without any mistake or forgetfulness; Glory be unto Him, the Provider, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Solicitous, the Generous; His gifts are universal, and His Generosity is all-embracing; there is no god but He!

Glory be unto You; we have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.2

O our Sustainer! For the sake of ‘In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,’ O God, O Merciful One, O Compassionate One! Bestow peace and blessings upon our master Muhammad, his Family and all his Companions, to the number of all the letters in the Risale-i Nur, multiplied by ten times the number of minutes in all of our lives in this world and the hereafter, and then by the number of particles in my body throughout the course of my life. Forgive me, and those who aid me in sincerity in the copying and distribution of the Risale-i Nur, and our fathers, our masters, our shaykhs, our sisters, our brothers, and the sincere students of the Risale-i Nur, particularly those who write and copy this treatise; by Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful, Amen. The conclusion of our prayer is, ‘Praise be to God, the Sustainer of All The Worlds!’