The Risale-i Nur: the Concept, Content and how to Benefit from it – 2

How to keep away from committing sins in modern times is a thorny issue to handle for they are widespread and even those who have strong belief may experience difficulty. The Risale-i Nur applies solutions which seem unprecedented.

THE RISALE-I NUR HEALS TWO DIRE SITUATIONS IN THESE TIMES

In the previous section, while explaining Imam’s being mujaddid, we had said that the activities of faith and guiding are the most important two proofs of his being mujaddid. We want to dwell on these two issues a little more. Imam Bediuzzaman says that there are two reasons why the treatises are not refuted, are not defeated and people are still interested in them in spite of exile, imprisonment, negative propaganda and pressure. Today, absolute kufr (atheism) has become widespread, and at the same time, man’s feelings have been prevailing over his heart and mind and even those who have faith have a tendency to committing sin. The Risale-i Nur has opposed these two dire situations and has been able to stop the damage that they cause. Let us examine them in order:

The First Dire Situation: Man’s feelings dominate his heart and mind and lead them into sin. The feelings of man generally do not show any interest in the future and they prefer one unit of present pleasure to hundreds of units of future pleasure. Yet the heart and mind focus on the future and they oversee the benefits to man, which are either in the past or future, rather than jumping on present pleasures. If anything gives us pleasure now, but may give us pain in the future, the heart and mind – contrary to the feelings – suggest that we abandon it. For example, everybody knows today that smoking is unhealthy, but still there are people who smoke cigarettes. Those whose heart and mind dominate give up smoking considering its harm. Those who are led by their emotions prefer the present pleasure to the future harm and they continue to smoke cigarettes. Western civilization, which has dominated the whole world in the twentieth century, has promoted worldly benefits and pleasures. The excessive media coverage of worldly pleasures and entertainments has naturally directed the attention of people towards these worldly pleasures. Though the Muslims of today have faith in Allah (SWT) and the Judgement day, what leads them to enjoy illicit and haram pleasures is this fact. Today, we can persuade very few of those who have become addicted to the pervasive illicit entertainments to lead an Islamic way of life by proving the existence of Allah (SWT), heaven and hell. Most of them would say “Allah is All Merciful and Compassionate, He is forgiving and hell is far away” and they go on enjoying the haram pleasures which they are addicted to. Their hearts and minds are captivated by their emotions.

According to Imam, the only way of persuading people to give up these illicit pleasures is “to show the pain in the pleasure.” The Imam says as follows: “Since the feelings of man, which do not see the future and prefer one gram of present pleasure over one ton of future pleasure – in this age – have won over the mind and intellect, the only way of rescuing the people of dissipation from their entertainments is to show the pain in that same entertainment and by that way to defeat the emotions. And, as the verse [يَسْتَحِبّوُنَ اْلحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا عَلَى اْلآخِرَةِ] “those who prefer the life of this world over the life to come” (Ibrahim, 14:3) indicates  that though someone today knows the jewel-like bounties of the afterlife, if he prefers the glasses to be broken over those bounties, and while someone is a man of faith, if he obeys the people of deviation for that love of world and interest, this is dangerous and the only way of rescuing people from that is to show the pain and tortures of hell in the world and Risale-i Nur implements this method.” (The Letters, Damascus Sermon)

There are comparisons between faith and lack of faith in the treatises. They show that faith gives peace to man, that the man with faith lives as if he is in a spiritual heaven; that there are pains in lack of faith even in this world and that the disbeliever feels pains in this world as if he is in hell, these points are are stressed with strong arguments. In comparisons between faith and lack of faith, what are mostly covered are the themes such as the weakness of man in the face of tribulations, the incapability of man in meeting his own needs and desires, the departures and annihilations, the connection of man with past and future, the loneliness of man, death and the fear of death. The Imam says as follows:

“Most of the comparisons in Risale-i Nur show the painful and saddening results of lack of faith and going astray in the world and cause even the most obstinate and hedonist people to detest their inauspicious and illicit pleasures and debauchery and also lead mindful people to repent. Among these comparisons, the little comparisons in the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Words and the long comparison in the Third Stopping-Place of the Thirty Second Word frighten the most libertine and dissipated man and make him accept the truth. You can conclude from many comparisons in the Risale-i Nur that the people of debauchery and unbelief experience a painful life in a spiritual hell even in this world, and the people of faith and good deeds can taste the spiritual heavenly bounties with manifestations of faith and a desire for bounties appropriate to their humanity and Islam. They can benefit from it according to the rank of their belief. However, the movements and events which annul the feelings and distract and manipulate the attention of people have put people into a state of bewilderment as if their feelings have been numbed, the people of lack of faith cannot really feel the spiritual torture. Even the people of faith are captured by heedlessness and cannot appreciate the real pleasure.” (The Letters, Damascus Sermon)

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The Second Dire Situation in this Age:  Absolute kufr (atheism) When we examine the Qur’an we see that all the prophets from Adam (peace be upon him) to our Prophet (PBUH) had dealt with idolatrous communities – that is, not those who deny the existence of Allah, rather those who accept Him, but ascribe the idols as partners to Allah. In the same way, we see that people who are atheists have been rare since the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Islamic communities. The Islamic scholars have dealt mostly not with atheists but with bid’a groups such as Mu’tazila and Shia. However, today what has not been witnessed throughout all history has happened and because of materialist and positivist philosophies, kufr (atheism) has spread. Imam Bediuzzaman relates as follows regarding this issue: “In olden times, deviation caused by absolute kufr, and science and stubbornness caused by purposeful obstinate unbelief were very scarce in comparison to the current time. For that reason, the works and proofs of earlier scholars of Islam were very effective at that time. They used to immediately remove any unbelief caused by random doubts. Since belief in Allah was the general standard, when they would give information about Him and tell of the tortures of hell, many would give up their debauchery, stubbornness and unbelief.

But now the case is different; instead of one absolute unbeliever like those of olden times in a town, now, you can find one hundred of them. Those who were became unbelievers through philosophy and science and opposing the truths of faith with obstinacy are now one hundred times more numerous than in previous times. Since these stubborn people, with the arrogance of pharaohs and their horrible deviation, oppose the truths of faith, of course, in the face of these people we need a sacred truth which will tear their foundation up in this world like an atom bomb so that in that way we will stop their onslaught and make some of them believe. Now, limitless praises be to Allah that Risale-i Nur, which is a semantic miracle and which brings glimmerings of the Qur’an as an effective cure for wounds of this time, defeats the most obstinate atheists with the diamond sword of the Qur’an with its many comparisons, parables and explanations, and it shows the proofs for the Divine unity and truths of faith in the number of all the atoms of the universe. For twenty-five years it has not been defeated but it overpowered in spite of the attacks. Yes, the comparisons of faith and lack of faith and parables of guidance and deviation prove this already mentioned truth by observation. For example, if you inspect the Proofs of Two Stations of the Twenty-Second Word and its Flashes and the First Stopping-place of the Thirty-Second Word and the Windows of the Thirty-Three Letters and Eleven Proofs of the Staff of Musa and other comparisons, you will understand that what will tear up and remove the obstinacy of unbelief and absolute kufr is the truth of the Qur’an reflected into the Risale-i Nur.” (Damascus Sermon)

RISALE-I NUR IS A PATH WHICH TAKES MAN FROM THE EXTERNAL REALM TO THE TRUTH

Risale-i Nur is not tariqat. But as tariqat takes man from the external realm to the truth Risale-i Nur also performs the same function and activity. At this point, questions such as ‘what is the external realm?’, ‘what is the truth?’, ‘what is passing to the truth?’ come to mind. Let us answer these questions briefly:

The External realm is the material realm, the realm of witnessing that we see and the realm of causes. In this realm of witnessing that we live in, we see that everything is formed through ‘causes’. Yet, this is what seemingly happens. In truth, what creates all things and beings and what keeps them in existence is ‘the power of Allah’. In the same way, all things that happen are reflections of His names and power. The effective and true power behind the causes is the power of Allah. Passing from the external realm to the truth is to be able to conceive the essence and mystery of things and events beyond the realm of witnessing (material world) and to perceive their truths. In other words, it is to be able to witness the names and attributes, power and wisdom of Allah which manifested into the universe ‘by experiencing them’. For centuries, Tasawwuf has tried to make people acquire this wisdom by having them focus on prayers and in that way it has raised numberless awliya. However, Risale-i Nur takes people to the truth by focusing on ilm (knowledge) not special prayers, accordingly to the needs of the age that we live in. The Imam says as follows:

“Know, O Friend! The man who is accompanied by Divine success can pass to the truth without entering the path of tariqat. Yes, I saw the truth of the tariqat in the Qur’an in an illuminated way – without tariqat – and I took a piece from it and, in the same way, I found a path which leads to ilm which is purpose in itself without studying the instrumental disciplines. It is the work of the Mercy of Allah that He has granted a short and safe path to the people of this age who are moving quickly.” (Mathnawi Nuriya, p. 190)

Imam reiterates his statements above, expanding them a little more in his book The Letters as follows: “Thirty years ago, Old Said received some fearsome blows to his heedless head. He thought the postulate [اَلْمَوْتُ حَقٌّ ] (The death is truth!). He saw himself sunk in a swamp. He demanded help, sought a way-out and a rescuer. He saw that the paths are various; he hesitated. He randomly opened Futuhu’l Ghayb to see what was written for him (tafa’ul), the book of Ghaws A’zam Shaykh Abdulqadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him). It read: [اَنْتَ فِى دَارِ الْحِكْمَةِ فَاطْلُبْ طَبِيبًا يُدَاوِى قَلْبَكَ] (You are in dar al hikmah (place of wisdom), find a physician to cure your heart!) It was surprising that I was a member of Daru’l Hikmatu’l Islamiyya in Istanbul at that time. I was a so-called doctor trying to cure the spiritual wounds of Muslims; however, I had more wounds. The patient first should cure himself and then the others. Thus, the honourable shaykh was saying to me: ‘You are a patient, find a healer for yourself!’ I said: ‘You become my healer!’ I read his book, making myself his addressee, as if the book had been written for me. However, the book was very harsh. It was severely wounding my pride. It carried out a spiritual surgical operation in my soul. I could not stand it; I made myself its addressee only for half of it; I could not tolerate it to the end. I put it in my cupboard. But later the pains caused by spiritual surgical operation went away and I felt a pleasure. I read whole of that book of my first master and benefited very much from it. And, I listened to his wird (dhikr) and munaja’at (supplication) and I felt a great spiritual pleasure. Then I saw the book of Imam Rabbani, Maktubat (The Letters) and held it. I opened it with a sincere tafa’ul. It is very surprising that throughout his whole book there were only two ‘Bediuzzaman’ words. Those two letters were suddenly opened to me. My father’s name is Mirza and I saw that on the beginnings of these letters it was written ‘the letter to Mirza Bediuzzaman. I said ‘fa subhanallah these address to me’. At that time one of nicknames of Old Said was Bediuzzaman and I did not know anybody who had been famous with that nickname except for Bediuzzaman Hamadani who lived third century after Hijra. Yet, it is understood that there was a man in the time of the Imam and he had written those two letters to that man. And his situation resembled mine in that I found those two letters as healing to my wounds. However, the Imam suggests persistently in that letter as he does in many others: “Unite your qibla.” In other words, accept someone as your master and follow him and do not engage with others. This most important recommendation of his did not fit my capability and spiritual condition. I thought a lot: “Should I follow this one, or that one, or the other one?’ I was baffled. Each of them had different attractive features. I could not content myself with only one of them. While I was in this confusion it was inspired to my heart with compassion from Allah (SWT): ‘The beginning of these different paths and the source of these rivers and the sun of these planets is the Qur’an al Hakim (the Wise). This is where you can find your real united qiblah. Thus, the most comprehensive master and the most sacred guide is this.’ I grabbed it. My insufficient and poor capability, of course, could not receive and absorb deservedly the light of that true guide which is like the water of eternity; yet, we can show that light and that water of eternity according to the rank of the man of heart and maturity again with its light.’ Thus, those words and lights coming from the Qur’an are not solely rational academic matters, but the matters of faith related to heart, spirit and maturity and they are in the position of highly valuable Divine ma’rifah.

Fourth Point: Since the people who have been in the position of being the greatest awliya from among the companions and tabi’in and taba’i tabii’n received their share of all their sentiments (lataife) from the Qur’an itself, and the Qur’an is a true and adequate guide for them, this situation shows that as the Qur’an always states the truth, it also makes the lights of walayat al kubra felt by those who deserve it. Yes, passing from the external world to the truth is possible through two ways:

First way: It is through the path of tariqat, experiencing sayr u suluk and passing through the spiritual ranks.

Second way: It is reaching the truth directly through the Divine granting of Allah without entering the path of tariqat, which is a short and high path particular to the companions and the tabi’in. Thus, the lights emanating from the truths of the Qur’an and the Words which are interpreters of the lights may have that feature and actually they do.” (The Letters, 28th Letter, 3rd Risala) Similar to the statement of the Imam above about passing from the external realm to the truth, the following statements  come in the introduction section of his book titled “Mathnawi”: “Forty or fifty years ago, because Old Said was preoccupied too much with rational disciplines of knowledge and philosophy, he sought a path for attaining the truth of truths like ‘people of tariqat’ and ‘people of haqiqah’. He could not content himself with only engaging with the heart like many of the people of tariqat, because his mind was damaged by philosophy to some extent; he needed curing. Then he wanted to follow some great people of haqiqah who had attained it in terms of both heart and mind. He realized that each of them had a unique attractive characteristic. He felt a confusion about which one he should follow. Imam Rabbani told him, “Unite your qiblah!”, that is, follow only one master! It was inspired to the heart of Old Said who was severely wounded: “The real master is the Qur’an. The unity of qiblah is made possible with this master and in that way, only with the guidance of that sacred master both his heart and spirit began the suluk. His evil commanding soul forced him to a spiritual and academic struggle with its doubts and hesitations. Not by closing his eyes, but like Imam Ghazali (ra), Maulana Jalaladdin (ra) and Imam Rabbani (ra), he travelled with open eyes where the people of  istighraq (people spiritually overwhelmed) closed the eyes of their reason (mind). Limitless praises be to Allah that he found a path to the truth through the guidance of the Qur’an and he entered it. He even showed with the writing of the Risale-i Nur by the New Said that he had been the recipient of the fact that [كُلِّ شَيْءٍ لَهُ آيَةٌ تَدُلُّ عَلَى اَنَّهُ وَاحِد وَ فِى] (In everything there is a sign indicating that He is one and unique).

The Second Point: Because he achieved union of the heart and mind like Maulana Jalaladdin (ra) and Imam Rabbani (ra) and Imam Ghazali (ra), first of all, he healed the wounds of heart and soul and got rid of the doubts of the evil-commanding soul (nafs) and in that way, lillahilhamd, Old Said was transformed into New Said. Like the Mathnawi al Sharif which is originally Persian, he also authored Katra, Hubab, Habba, Zuhra, Zarra, Shamma, Shu’la, Lamaa’t, Rashahat, Lasiyyemma and other treatises, a kind of Mathnawi in Arabic, and Point and Flashes in Turkish in a quite brief way and he printed them as and when he found the opportunity. For nearly half a century, his path in the form of the Risale-i Nur, in return for struggling with the nafs and Satan, became a comprehensive and general mathnawi for those who were in confusion and need and in the face of those who go astray dut to following philosophy.

Third Point: Like the total silencing and defeat of the Satan and the nafs in debate with New Said, the Risale-i Nur also heals the seeker of truth who is wounded in a short time, and it also silences and refutes the people of unbelief and deviation. Thus this Arabic Mathnawi is like a seed and nursery garden of the Risale-i Nur. The struggle of this book with the Satan and the nafs rescues man from the doubts of the evil-commanding soul, and from shaytans of both jinn and men. And this information provides a conviction and satisfaction as if you see all things, and if it is in the level of ilm al-yaqin it makes it ayn al-yaqin.” (Mathnawi Nuriya)

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The Risale-i Nur is a path taking man to Allah – like tariqat:

Tariqats are paths that take man to Allah. The Risale-i Nur is not tariqat but it takes people to Allah just like tariqats. The Imam’s explanation regarding this issue is as follows: “The ways leading to Allah (SWT) are truly numerous. While all true ways are taken from the Qur’an, some are shorter, safer, and more general than others. Of these ways taken from the Qur’an is that of impotence, poverty, compassion, and reflection, from which, with my defective understanding, I have benefited. Indeed, like ecstatic love, impotence too is a path which, by way of worship, leads to winning Allah’s love; but it is safer. And poverty too leads to the Divine Name of All-Merciful. And, like ecstatic love, compassion also leads to the Name of All-Compassionate, but it is a clearer and broader path. And also like ecstatic love, reflection leads to the Name of All-Wise, but it is a richer, broader, and more brilliant path. This path consists not of ten steps like the ‘ten subtle faculties’ of some of the tariqats employing silent recollection, nor of seven stages like the ‘seven souls’ of those practicing public recitation, but of Four Steps. It is reality [haqiqat], rather than a tariqat. It is Shari’at. However, let it not be misunderstood. It means to see one’s impotence, poverty and faults before Allah (SWT), not to fabricate them or display them to people. The method of this short path is to follow the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH), perform the religious obligations and give up serious sins. And it is especially to perform the prescribed prayers correctly and with attention, and following them to say the tasbihat. (The Words)

THE RISALE-I NUR AND TARIQAT

The Risale-i Nur is not tariqat but it makes its disciple acquire the purposes and results targeted by tariqat. Furthermore, the Risale-i Nur is not a collection written exclusively for its disciples, it also addresses all people of faith. The people of tariqat should also read the Risale-i Nur and learn the truths of faith and the Qur’an. Reading the Risale-i Nur does not exclude them from tariqat, contrarily, it strengths them in tariqat. Some explanations regarding the issue are as follows:

“The Fifth Letter In his Maktubat (Letters), Imam Rabbani (ra), the hero and a sun of the Naqshbandi Order, said: “I prefer the unfolding of a single matter of the truths of belief to thousands of illuminations, ecstasies, and instances of wonder-working.” He also said: “The final point of all the Sufi ways is the clarification and unfolding of the truths of belief.” He also said: “Walayat is of three sorts: one is the ‘lesser walayat,’ which is the well-known walayat. The others are the ‘middle walayat’ and the ‘greater walayat.’ ‘Greater walayat’ is to open up by way of the legacy of prophethood a direct way to reality without entering the intermediate realm of Sufism.” He said also: “The spiritual journeying on the Naqshi way is with two wings.” That is, “Through having firm belief in the truths of faith and carrying out the religious obligations. If there is defect in these two wings, the way cannot be traversed.” In which case, the Naqshi way has three veils:

The First and most important is direct service to the truths of belief; Imam Rabbani travelled this way in his later years.

The Second is service to the religious obligations and Glorious Sunna under the veil of the Sufi way.

The Third is to work to eliminate the sicknesses of the heart by way of Sufism and to journey with the feet of the heart. Of these, the first is the equivalent of obligatory, the second, close to obligatory, and the third, Sunna. Since the reality of the matter is thus, my conjecture is that if persons like Shaykh Abd a1-Qadir Jilani (ra) and Shah Naqshband (ra) and Imam-i Rabbani (ra) were alive at the present time, they would expend all their efforts in strengthening the truths of belief and tenets of Islam. For they are the means to eternal happiness. If there is deficiency in them, it results in eternal misery. A person without belief may not enter Paradise, but those who have gone to Paradise without Sufism are truly numerous. Man cannot live without bread, but he can live without fruit. Sufism is the fruit, the truths of Islam, basic sustenance. In former times, through spiritual journeying from forty days to as much as forty years, a person might rise to some of the truths of belief. But now, if through Allah (SWT)’s mercy there is a way to rise to those truths in forty minutes, it surely is not sensible to remain indifferent to it. Thus, those who have studied carefully the Thirty-three Words state that they have opened up just such a Qur’anic way. Since this is a fact, I am of the opinion that the Words written about the mysteries of the Qur’an are a most appropriate medicine and salve for the wounds of this time, and a most beneficial light for the totality of Islam which has been subject to the assaults of darkness, and a most right guide for those wandering bewildered in the valleys of misguidance. You know that if misguidance arises from ignorance, it is easy to dispel. But if it proceeds from science and learning, it is difficult to eliminate. In former times, the latter was one in a thousand, and of these only one in a thousand could come to the way through guidance. For such people fancy themselves. And they do not know, but they suppose that they do know. I think that Allah (SWT) has bestowed the Words at this time, which are flashes of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, as an antidote to this atheistic misguidance.” (The Letters, Fifth Letter)

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Imam Bediuzzaman does not show signs of fanaticism in his path and he does not call the people of tariqat to abandon tariqat and to follow him, on the contrary, he praises the tariqat (Talwihat al Tis’a, which is the 9th treatise of the 29th Letter is important regarding this issue); but he wants the people of tariqat to benefit from and spread the Risale-i Nur. He wants them to maintain both the activity of tariqat and service to the faith. His statement regarding this issue is as follows: “The Nur treatises have begun to illuminate the schools completely. It has made the disciples of the schools owners and propagators and followers of the Risale-i Nur more than the students of madrasahs. Inshaallah, the people of madrasah will slowly own and spread the Nur treatises which are their real commodities and the products of the madrasah. Now, there are a lot of demands for the Risale-i Nur from many muftis and scholars. Now, the most important visitors of takkas are the people of tariqat. They should own and spread the Nur treatises with all their strength. (As an example, the followers of Haji Abdullah of Seydişehir in Kastamonu, Isparta and Eskişehir have considered the Risale-i Nur as their circle of tariqat and whoever sees the Risale-i Nur among them owns it appreciatively. Thousands of barakallah to them!)” “So far I have considered only the faith aspect of issues and said “it is not time for tariqat, the bid’as hinder it”. But it has been clarified that all members of tariqats should consider Risale-i Nur as their circle of tariqat and enter it because it is the greatest circle of tariqats and it is a summary of twelve great tariqats within the boundaries of the sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). And the spiritually weakest men of tariqat cannot convert easily into unbelief as their hearts resist it. For that reason, they may be unshakable true disciples of Nur. Yet they should abstain from bid’as and big sins which shake their taqwa as much as possible.” (Emirdağ Addendum) “Every individual can continue to follow his shaykh and master after joining the circle. But those who do not have shaykhs before joining the circle can only find their guide within the circle.” (The Flashes)

Karamat in the Risale-i Nur The Difference between Karamat and Ikram

Some extraordinary situations may be witnessed in the Risale-i Nur just as they may be in tariqats. The Imam says these extraordinary situations and events are not karamat but ikram. He explains the difference between karamat and ikram in the Ninth Letter as follows: “Your success, endeavour, and eagerness in spreading the lights of the Qur’an are a Divine ikram, a wonder of the Qur’an, a Divine favour. I congratulate you. Since we have come to a discussion of karamat (wonder-working), ikram, and favour, I shall tell you the difference between karamat and ikram. It is like this: So long as there is no necessity for it, to display wonder-working is harmful. Whereas to make known ikram is to make known a Divine bounty. If someone who is honoured with karamat knowingly manifests an extraordinary matter, and his evil-commanding soul is persistent, then in respect of him relying on himself and on his soul and what he has uncovered and falling into pride, it may be that Allah (SWT) is drawing him on by at first granting him success. If unknowingly he displays a wondrous act, for example, a person has an unvoiced question and involuntarily he gives an appropriate answer, and afterwards understands, this increases his confidence, not in himself, but in his Sustainer. He says: “I have a Preserver who is raising me better than I myself.” And this increases his reliance on Allah. This is a harmless sort of wonder-working; he is not charged with concealing it, but he should not intentionally display it, because of pride. For since man’s power to act has some connection with it, he may relate it to himself.

When it comes to ikram, it is sounder than the second sort of karamat, the sound sort, and in my opinion is more elevated. To display it is to make known a bounty. The power to act has no connection with it, and the soul does not attribute it to itself. And so, my brother, the Divine bounties concerning both yourself, and myself, particularly in our service to the Qur’an, which for a long time past I have seen and written about, are ikram, and to make them known is to make known a Divine bounty. For this reason I mention to you the success of both of us in our service in order to make known the Divine bounty. I always knew that it would arouse the vein of thanks in you, not pride.” (The Letters, Ninth Letter)

Is karamat wished for?

“It is the answer to a question which is asked both through the tongue of disposition and the tongue of speaking. It is said: ‘Now that it is an established fact that the Risale-i Nur has karamat and it provides development in the truths of faith more than tariqats and its true disciples are in level of awliya at least partially, then, why do they not seem to experience spiritual pleasures and explorations and why are not they recipients of karamats? And its students do not seek such kind of things. What is the reason for that?’

The Answer: Firstly: The reason is the principle of sincerity, because temporal pleasures and karamats become the goal for those who do not defeat their nafs (self) completely and they become the reason for otherworldly deeds and break the principle of sincerity. Because worldly aims and pleasures are not sought through otherworldly deeds; if they are, sincerity is broken. Secondly: Karamats and explorations are for the reinforcement of those who practise the tariqat and who are intellectually low and have imitated faith and they are for giving conviction to those who are doubtful. However, the proofs which the Risale-i Nur shows for the truths of faith do not ever leave the possibility for doubts and they do not make you feel that you need karamats and explorations to gain a strength of conviction. Since the verified faith that it provides is superior to explorations, pleasures and karamats, the true disciples do not seek such things. Thirdly: A principle of the Risale-i Nur is to serve for the sake of Allah, being humbly aware of one’s faults, without competition with anyone. However, there is a kind of competition among the people of tariqat who enjoy karamats and explorations, and in this age of egotism the people of heedlessness assume negatively and blame those blessed people with having egotism, which shows that it is essential and a must that the disciples of Risale-i Nur should not desire and seek after karamats and explorations. And in the path of the Risale-i Nur no importance is attached to the individual. Divine blessings like spiritual company; the selflessness of brothers for the sake of each other; the thousands of scholarly karamats that the Risale-i Nur has been the recipient of; the ease of spreading the movement and the abundance of sustenance enjoyed by the followers are enough for all; thus, they do not seek any other personal exploration or karamat. Fourthly: Since they are transitory, one hundred of this world’s gardens do not equal one tree of the hereafter which is eternal. However, the blind feelings of man, which are infatuated with present pleasures, prefer one present transitory fruit over the eternal garden of the other world and for that reason the Risale-i Nur students do not want their nafs (self) to take advantage of this ‘natural inclination’ and they do not look for immaterial pleasures and spiritual explorations in this world. The story of a man whose situation resembles the Risale-i Nur students is interesting to tell. Though he was in a high spiritual rank with his wife, they were very poor, and one day his wife said “We are in desperate need”. At once a brick made of gold appeared before them. The man said: “This is a brick of our palace in the heaven.” Then that blessed woman said: “We are in great need and we have many such bricks in the hereafter; but I do not want it to be spent in such a transitory way and our palace to be without a brick. Pray so that it goes back to its original place.” Suddenly it went. It has been said, “They have seen it with kashf (spiritual exploration). Now, the story of these two heroic people of truth is a good example of why the Risale-i Nur students do not go after pleasures and karamats.” (Emirdağ Addendum)

HOW THE RISALE-I NUR  DIFFERS FROM OTHER BOOKS

“It was asked by some people who had been reading diwans (books) of the awliya and books of the scholars: What is the reason for the fact that the pleasure and energy and faith and consciousness that the Risale-i Nur provides are more powerful than those of other books?

The Answer:

1. Most diwans of old blessed people and some treatises of scholars give information about consequences, fruits and pleasures of faith and marifat. In their time there was not an attack on the roots of the faith and the pillars of the faith were not being shaken. But now, there is a fierce collective onslaught on the roots and pillars of faith. Most of those diwans and treatises are addressed particularly to believers and individuals and they are not able to repel the ferocious attacks of today. But, the Risale-i Nur, as a semantic miracle of the Qur’an, rescues the pillars of the faith and rather than benefitting from present faith, since it serves proving, verification, protection and saving from doubts of the faith with a lot of proofs and brilliant evidences, those who evaluate it carefully conclude that everybody needs it as they would bread or medicine.

2. Those diwans say: ‘become a wali and see; go through the spiritual ranks and then look and receive the lights and pleasures.’ But, the Risale-i Nur says: ‘Whoever you are, only open your eyes, look and see, witness the truth and rescue your faith which is the key to eternal happiness.’

3. The Risale-i Nur first of all tries to persuade the nafs (self) of its author and then engages with others. Of course, an instruction which convinces the nafs al ammara (evil-commanding self) and removes the doubts of its author is quite powerful and sincere that it retaliates on its own in the face of the horrible collective personality of unbelief which has become so widespread in this age.

4. The Risale-i Nur does not instruct exclusively based on reason like the books of other scholars and it does not only focus on pleasures and explorations of the heart but it incorporates and unites the heart and mind and receives aid from the spirit and other subtle entities (lata’if), in that way it gains strength and rises so high and acquires a position which the eyes of philosophy that attack it cannot reach, let alone its feet. And, in that way, it shows the truths of faith even to blind eyes.” (Kastamonu Addendum)

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