Critically Verified Faith and the Risale-i Nur Model

The Risale-i Nur provides the most effective ways of acquiring critically verified faith in an age when faith is being attacked through reason, philosophy and science by atheistic circles.


“I created jinn and mankind only to worship Me.” (Dhariyat, 51:56)

This noble verse expresses that the wisdom and purpose behind mankind’s being sent to this world is nothing but recognising Allah (SWT) and believing in Him and worshipping Him. The most significant duty incumbent upon mankind is believing in Him and acquiring His marifah (knowledge) and recognising His existence and unity with an unshakeable faith. For the human being who wants to live forever, there is no value in most things except for faith in Allah and knowledge (marifah) of Allah and the means to these, which is the foundation and the key of that eternal life. If a man does not have a firm and sound creed, he could lose that eternal bliss which he yearns for. Unfortunately, the majority of the people of our age are not able to preserve their faith (creed). Imam Nursi explains this as follows: One of the people of kashf and tahqiq witnessed that only a few of the forty people of a certain area succeeded and the rest failed. I wonder whether it would reimburse the cause he lost if the whole kingdom of this world were given to this man.

Until the 20th century, Islamic belief and the lives of Muslims were under the guarantee of the states they lived in. Thus, anti-Islamic ideologies and movements would not spread among the public. After the abolishment of the khilafah and the enslavement of the Islamic states, it was as if the fortress around Islam were demolished. Anti-Islamic people started to spread their grudges freely which they have been accumulating for centuries. They attacked believers through different means by spreading their rejections and suspicions against belief and the Qur’an. They tried to shake our faith which is the key, means and foundation of our eternal bliss. Unfortunately, they achieved this to a certain extent. They spread their disbelief all around the world through movements such as communism, Darwinism and atheism. Unfortunately, the Islamic world and particularly the belief of the layman has been affected by these movements and these ideologies have spread in Islamic cities

In a time where our Islamic foundations and faith are being attacked to such an extent, the most significant thing that we need to do, first of all, for sure, is to strengthen our faith by upgrading our faith to verified belief from imitative belief.

As Imam Al-Ghazali expressed it in the commentary of the hadith which shows that gaining knowledge is incumbent upon every Muslim, we must gain the knowledge which will save our incumbent faith from the debates of creed which are very common in this time.

After mentioning the attacks on faith, Imam Badi’uzzaman Said Nursi also points out the significance of verified belief as follows: “If people like Abdulqadir Gilani, Imam Naqhshabandi and Imam Rabbani were to live in this century, they would spend all their efforts on strengthening the truths of faith and the Islamic creed, for they are the means of bliss of this world and the hereafter. If there is a deficiency on them, eternal happiness would be lost.”

As a response to certain people who try to demotivate people from attending faith lessons by saying “everyone knows Allah, therefore, we do not need to learn any new lessons on this topic”, Imam Nursi stresses the importance of verified belief as follows: Knowing Allah is possible by certainly believing that His Lordship encompasses the whole universe, and that from atoms to the stars everything is in His disposal and brought into existence through His Power and Will, and that He has no partner in His Kingdom, and believing in the sacred word and truths of . Otherwise, there is no truth of believing in Allah in just saying that “There is one Allah” and then allocating everything that belongs to Him among factors and nature and depending on them (hasha!), and acknowledging the factors as independent and being unaware of His Knowledge, Will and Power encompassing everything and being aloof to His decisive orders and being ignorant of His attributes and the messengers and prophets that He has sent. Yes, not to deny is something particular; but to believe is something totally different…

Believing in Him, as the glorious Qur’an teaches, is to know about that Creator with His attributes and names and affirm Him with his heart depending on bearing witness of the whole universe; and to acknowledge the orders that He sent through His messengers; and to repent and regret when he commits a sin and contravenes the laws. Otherwise, committing the big sins freely without repentance and anxiety shows that he does not have his share of verified faith.

Yes, faith is not restricted to a brief and imitative confirmation, but it has levels and ranks extending from a seed to a tall date tree. The imitative faith is defeated easily by doubts. In verified belief which is more powerful and deeper than the imitative one there are more levels. The level of ‘ilm al yaqin (assurance through knowledge) survives many doubts with the power of strong proofs. However, imitative faith may be defeated by even a single doubt sometimes.

Another level of verified faith is ayn al yaqin (assurance through the eyes), which has a lot of levels. It has degrees of manifestation in a number of the Divine names. It can come to a level by which its owner can read the whole universe as a Qur’an.

And another level is haqq al yaqin (assurance through experiencing). It also has a lot of levels. Even if armies of doubts attack the people who have this kind of faith, they can do nothing.

Now, Risale-i Nur instructs this critically verified faith with the inspiration which it takes from the Qur’an and fights and struggles on behalf of the Qur’an and faith against the movements of disbelief, which have been working against Islam and humanity and the Qur’an for a thousand years. It said in the hadith: “If one man is guided on the right path (i.e. converted to Islam) through you, it would be better for you than (a great number of) red camels.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 52) “Sometimes, one hour of contemplation is better than one thousand years worship.”

THE RISALE-I NUR’S METHOD OF ACQUISITION OF VERIFIED FAITH

The Risale-i Nur gives verified belief lessons efficiently to all ranks of society ranging from the lower levels to the elites. Nobody can claim that they do not need the lessons of the Risale-i Nur. As is stated at the beginning of the 33rd letter, the Risale-i Nur “will bring to belief those without belief, strengthen the belief of those whose belief is weak, make certain the belief of those whose belief is strong but imitative, give greater breadth to the belief of those whose belief is certain, lead to progress in knowledge of God – the basis and means of all true perfection – for those whose belief has breadth, and open up more brilliant vistas for them.”

Of course, this effect in the Risale-i Nur’s lessons derives from some of its features:

The Risale-i Nur addresses the people of this age and responds their needs.

The answer of the Imam is as follows regarding a question:

“Most books (diwans) of classical walis and classical treatises of scholars talk about the results and fruits and inspirations of faith and ma’rifah. There was not any onslaught to the roots and basics of faith at their times and the pillars of faith were not being shaken. But now there is a collective and violent attack on the roots and pillars of faith. Most of those diwans and treatises address the elite believers and individuals and cannot overcome the dire attacks in this time.

But the Risale-i Nur saves the basics of faith and it does not let man remain satisfied with his current level of faith, but it serves the proving, sustaining, protecting of faith and saves people from doubts with a lot of proofs and evidences, thus those who have balanced judgement can evaluate the fact that it is necessary for everybody, like bread and medicine.

Those diwans say: “Become a wali and elevate in the ranks and receive the lights and inspirations.”

The Risale-i Nur says: “Whoever you are; look and see. Just open your eyes, bear witness to the truth and save your faith which is the key to eternal faith.”

And the Risale-i Nur first of all tries to convince its author’s soul and then addresses itself to the others. Of course, a lesson which convinces his soul thoroughly and removes his doubts completely is quite powerful and sincere, such that it retaliates against a troublesome collective spiritual personality of unbelief which is acting as a community.”

The Risale-i Nur addresses both the mind and the heart

“The light of the consciousness is the knowledge of religion. The light of intellect is the positive sciences. The truth is revealed when they are both combined. When they separate, the former causes bigotry and the latter causes deceit and doubt.”

The following statements can be found in the remainder of the letter that we read a while ago:

“The Risale-i Nur does not only instruct through the perspective of the mind and move with discoveries and pleasures of the heart. Rather it soars up to the highest summit through incorporation and union of the mind and heart and the solidarity of spirit and other feelings. It climbs up to the places where philosophy which attacks faith cannot even see through its eyes let alone climbing on foot and it shows the truths of faith to its blind eyes.”

He uses the following words to state the verified faith which the Risale-i Nur provides.

“A method of acquiring this verified faith is to attain the truth through al walayat al kamila, spiritual unveiling and development journey (suluk). This method is peculiar to the elites of elites (akhass’ul khawas) of the spiritual realm and it is a faith based on shuhud (witnessing). The second method is to confirm the truths of faith through a faith based on the unseen (ghayb) and inspiration of the revelation and based on proofs and the Qur’an and with an ‘ilm al yaqin (assurance through knowledge) which becomes clear manifest and necessary with a power in the level of haqq al yaqin (assurance through experience) through incorporation of the heart and mind. The special students

see that this second method is the essence, main ingredient, basic foundation, spirit and truth of Risale-i Nur. If people evaluate this method honestly, they will see that Risale-i Nur makes the ideas opposing the truths of faith look impossible, absurd and inconceivable.”

Another method that the Risale-i Nur uses in instructing the faith lessons is metaphors.

In that way, even the truths of faith which are difficult to comprehend may be explained immensely easily. Let us hear what the Risale-i Nur again says regarding this issue: “Formerly, the fundamentals of belief were protected, submission was strong. Even if the intuitive knowledge of those with knowledge of Allah lacked proof, their expositions were acceptable and sufficient. But in this time, since the misguidance of science has stretched out its hand to the fundamentals and pillars [of belief), the All-Wise and Compassionate One of Glory, Who bestows a remedy for every ill, in consequence of my impotence and weakness, want and need, mercifully bestowed in these writings of mine while serving the the Qur’an, a single ray from the comparisons of the Noble Qur’an, which are a most brilliant manifestation of its miraculousness. All praise be to Allah, the most distant truths were brought close through the telescope of the mystery of comparisons. And through the aspect of unity of the mystery of comparisons, the most scattered matters were collected together. And by way of the stairs of the mystery of comparisons, the highest truths were easily reached. And through the window of the mystery of comparisons, a certainty of belief in the truths of the Unseen and fundamentals of Islam was obtained close to the degree of `witnessing.’ The intellect, as well as the imagination and fancy, and the soul and caprice, were compelled to submit, and Satan too was compelled to surrender his weapons.

I n S h o r t: Whatever beauty and effectiveness are found in my writings, they are only flashes of the Qur’anic comparisons. My share was only my intense need and my seeking, and my extreme impotence and my beseeching. The ill is mine, the cure, the Qur’an’s.

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