The spiritual secrets of “la ilaha illallah”

The Tenth Proof of Faith” from the Risale-i Nur Corpus

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

لااله الا الله وحده لا شریك له له الملك وله الحمد یحیی ویمیت وهو حی لایموت بیده الخیر

وهو علی كل شیء قدیر والیه المصیر

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

There is none worthy of worship but Allah, alone without partner, His is the kingdom, and His is the praise, He gives life and causes death, but He is Living and does not die, in His hand is all good, and He has power over all things – and unto Him is the final end.

The repetition of this phrase of Divine unity after the Dawn and Sunset Prayers contains abundant virtues, and [the phrase] carries the degree of the Supreme Name, as has been related in an authentic narration; it comprises eleven words, and the each of its words contains [special] good news and glad tidings and one of the degrees of the unity of Lordship – within it are the grandeur of oneness and the perfection of unity, within the secret of the Supreme Name that it contains.

And following from a previous promise, here will we set down an index for it in the form of a concise encapsulation made up of “Two Stations” and “An Introduction”, entrusting the [full] elucidation of these sublime, celestial realities to the other ‘epistles.’

Introduction:

O man! Know with certainty that the most elevated objective of creation and that the loftiest outcome of the innate disposition [of human beings] is faith in Allah, and that the highest degree of humanity and the most sublime station of humanness is the knowledge of Allah contained within  faith in Allah; and that the most dazzling bliss and the sweetest blessings for man and jinn is the love of Allah latent in the knowledge of Allah, and that the purest happiness for man’s spirit and the most unsullied joy for man’s heart lies in the spiritual ecstasy latent in love of Allah.

Yes– all true bliss, pure happiness, sweet blessings, and unsullied ecstasy can without doubt come only from knowledge of Allah and love of Allah – and there can be no bliss nor happiness nor blessings nor ecstasy without them. He who knows Allah and loves Him attains to bliss, blessings, lights and secrets that are either potentially or actually infinite; and he who does not truly know Him nor truly love Him is afflicted with infinite wretchedness, pains and delusions both spiritual and material.

Yes, in this miserable world amongst these miserable, lost people and in a fruitless life, what is powerless, destitute man worth without an owner and protector, even were he to become the king of the entire world?

It is such that all understand just how helpless and astray man is in this sad, transient world amongst forlorn humankind, should he not know his Master nor find his Owner.

Yet if he finds his Master and knows his Owner, he then takes refuge in His mercy and relies upon His power, and this lonely world turns into a meadow of beauty, and becomes a market for [spiritual] trade.

The First Station: Every one of the eleven clauses in this phrase of Divine unity is an instance of glad tidings, and within that good news there is a healing, and within that healing a spiritual ecstasy.

The first clause: لا اله الا الله “there is none worthy of worship but Allah”

[This clause] contains the following instance of glad tidings: Man’s spirit, which has illimitable needs, and which is the target of the attacks of boundless enemies, finds a means of help in this clause that opens the gates of the treasuries of a mercy that will make all of its needs available to it, and it finds within this clause a tower of strength that introduces [his spirit] to He Whom it worships, to its Creator, the Possessor of Absolute Power Who protects it from the iniquities of all of its enemies; and [this clause] shows it who its Owner is and guides it to its Protector, and in this guidance, it saves the heart from absolute loneliness, and the spirit from painful sorrow, and it guarantees endless joy and perpetual happiness for the both of them.

The second clause: وحده “alone

This clause contains an instance of glad tidings replete with healing and bliss, which is that man’s spirit and heart, which are attached and connected to the majority of species of created beings, and that have arrived at the extreme of drowning, in misery and confusion, on account of those attachments and connections, find in the clause وحده a refuge and sanctuary that rescues them from all of that misery and confusion.

That is, وحده “alone” is implicitly saying, ‘Allah is One, so do not tire yourselves by requesting anything from anyone other than Him, and do not make yourself indebted to anyone by degrading yourself before them, and do not bow your head in flattery of them, and do not exhaust yourself by running after them, and do not shake from fear of them; for the King of the universe is One, and He possesses the keys of all things, and the reins of all matters are in His hand; in accordance with His command do all things become realised, and all problems solved – so if you have found Him, you will have found all that you look for, and you will have been saved from limitless indebtedness and anxieties.’

The third clause: لا شريك له “without partner”

That is to say, just as it is so that He has no partner in His Divinity or in His kingdom, and since He is one and His being many is logically impossible, so too is it so that He has no partner in His Lordship, enterprises and bringing of things into existence.

In some cases, it may be that a king is one is so far as he has no partners in his rulership, yet his officials are counted as partners in his enterprises – and they do not allow just anyone to enter into the presence [of the king], instead telling them that they should also go to them [for whatever it is that they need].

However,  just as it is that the Majestic Truth Who is the King of Beginningless and Endless Eternity is without any partner in His kingdom, so too is it that He has no need of helpers nor of partners in the enterprises of His Lordship. Nothing can intervene in anything without His command, volition, might and strength.

Anyone may go to Him directly with their needs, and no one says, ‘forbidden! you cannot enter into His presence,’ to anyone who wishes to go to Him, for He has no partner nor helper.

In this way does this clause brings glad tidings to man’s spirit, saying, ‘it is possible for the human spirit that has acquired faith to enter into the presence of the Beautiful, Possessor of Majesty, and the Almighty, Possessor of Perfection, the Beginninglessly and Endlessly Eternal, and the Owner of treasuries of mercy, and the Protector of the treasures of bliss, without interference nor barrier nor resistance, in all of its states and during [the realisation of] all of its objectives, and in any time or place, and [it is possible] for it to bring up its needs, and it is possible for it to acquire complete delight and perfect happiness by entering into His mercy and relying upon His power.’

The fourth clause: لَهُ الْمُلْكُ “His is the kingdom”

That is, the entirety of the kingdom is His, and you too are His property and His slave, working in His kingdom; this clause brings glad tidings that contain a healing, saying, ‘O man! Do not think that you own yourself, for you cannot even administer matters related to your own self by yourself, and the burden is heavy such that you cannot carry it by yourself; you cannot get out of the way of trials and tribulations, nor can you make the things you need become available to you; thus, do not be in pain nor torture futilely, for the kingdom belongs to an Owner other than yourself, and that Owner is Almighty and Compassionate – rely thus upon His power, and do not falsely accuse His mercy, and leave your worry and distress – stop and enjoy [your life], and leave the tiredness and trouble, and gain the victory of bliss and felicity.’

And [this clause] says, ‘this universe, which you love and are spiritually attached to, and the wretchedness and misery of which pains you, and which you are unable to set right, is the property of one Who is Almighty and Compassionate – so give the property up to its owner, and entrust it to him, and do not burden yourself with its troubles and hardships, but enjoy its pleasures and its joys. He is Wise and Compassionate, and acts freely in His kingdom, directing howsoever He wills. If you become bewildered, say, like Ibrahim Haqqi,

let us see what the Master does,

beautiful it is, all that he does

Look then at the universe and all of the events and upheavals in it from the windows, but do not involve yourself in it.’

The fifth clause: وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ “and His is the praise”

That is, all praise, extolment, approval and graces are special to Him, and befit Him alone, which is to say that all blessings are from Him, for they proceed and emanate from His treasure-house, and those treasure-houses are perpetual.

Thus does this clause bring glad tidings and say, ‘O man! Be pained not by the passing away of blessings, for the treasuries of mercy are inexhaustible; and do not howl and wail because of the pain brought on by your thinking about the passing away of pleasure, for the fruits of those blessings are the fruits of infinite mercy, and the tree from which they come is ever-enduring, such that should a fruit pass away and evanesce, another will take its place. It is within your reach to increase the degree of pleasure involved in those blessings from one to one hundred, by means of your contemplating, in a state of praise of the Divine, the compliments of Divine mercy contained in the pleasure of blessings, [contemplation] which is a hundred degrees more pleasurable than the pleasure [of the blessings] itself.’

So just as it is so that the taste of an apple that a glorious King has gifted to you makes you feel the pleasure of a Royal compliment one hundred times superior to the taste of an apple, if not one thousand apples, so too does the clause له الحمد “and His is the praise” open the door of a spiritual pleasure which is a hundred degrees more pleasurable than any [earthly] blessing – and this comes about through praise and gratitude, that is, through feeling the Divine bestowal of blessings within those blessings, that is to say, through having knowledge of the Bestower of Blessings and through contemplating His outpourings, that is to say, through meditating on the instances of Divine compliments of mercy and the care and concern of His Compassion, and the perpetual nature of His bestowal of blessings.

The sixth clause: يحيي “He gives life

That is, it is He Who bestows life, and He is the One Who perpetuates it by means of the provision [that He gives], and He it is Who prepares things necessary for life; life’s lofty purposes return to Him, its most important outcomes are turned to Him – and ninety nine out of a hundred of its fruits pertain to Him.

Now, this clause addresses powerless, transient man, and brings glad tidings, saying, ‘O man! Do not tire yourself by carrying the heavy burdens of life upon your shoulders, and be not saddened by thinking about the transience of life.  Do not manifest regret and sighing about your having come into this world, scrutinizing only the worldly and insignificant fruits; no, life’s machine latent in the ship of your body, is the property of the Living, the Self-subsistent Sustainer – He it is Who provides its expenditures and necessities. That life has a very great many purposes and outcomes, all of which are His property, and that return to Him and pertain to Him. On this ship, you are nothing but a steersman – so carry out your duty in the very best way, and take your wages, and enjoy your life, and contemplate this ship of life – how precious it is! How many beautiful benefits does it hold! How Generous and Compassionate is the Owner of this ship! By means of this, be happy and have gratitude, and understand that whenever you uprightly carry out your duty all of the fruits that that ship yields will be recorded in your books of deeds from a certain angle, and will realise an ever-enduring life for you, and will enliven you with eternal life from another angle.’

The seventh clause:ويميت  “and causes death

That is, He is the One Who creates death, which is to say that He is the One Who releases from the duty of life, and changes your place – from this transient world to the world of eternity, and Who relieves and frees from the burden and weight of service – Who moves you from transient life to eternal life.

In this way does this clause call out to transient jinn and mankind, saying, ‘Here are glad tidings for you! Death is not execution nor nothingness nor evanescence, nor extinction nor extinguishment – nor is it eternal separation, nor non-existence, nor a chance event, nor a disappearance without an agent who brings it about – no, it is a release brought about by a Wise and Compassionate Agent, and is a changing of location, and being driven towards endless bliss to our original homeland, and the door of arrival to the isthmus world which is the gathering place of ninety nine out of every hundred beloved friends.

The eighth clause: و هو حي لا يموت “but He is Living and does not die

The Possessor of Beauty, Perfection and Beneficence, the perfection, beauty and beneficence of Whom maximally surpasses the perfection, beauty and beneficence seen in the beings existing in the universe; now, the One Who is worshipped perpetually, and the One Who is loved permanently, a single touch of the Beauty of Whom upon all of the beloveds, has beginninglessly and endlessly eternal and perpetual life, transcendent beyond any of the blemishes of evanescence and transience, and free from the symptoms of deficiency or inadequacy.

This clause, then, proclaims to jinn and men and to all conscious beings and the people of love and ecstatic spiritual yearning, here are glad tidings for you! You have an Ever-abiding Beloved Who treats the wounds that arise from your limitless number of separations from your loved ones, and rubs them with ointment. As long as it is so that He exists and is eternal, worry not nor be you anxious, whatever might afflict others; for the beauty and beneficence and grace and perfection in those things you love, qualities that are the reason that you love them, are nothing but shadows of an exceedingly weak shadow of the manifestation of the eternal beauty of that Eternal Beloved, that have pierced through and dropped down through numerous veils and covers; thus, do not let the passing away of those things you love pain you, for they are but mirrors, and the mirrors’ being replaced and changed only renews and beautifies the magnificence and resplendence of that Divine beauty – as long as He exists, everything exists.

The ninth clause: بيده الخير “in His hand is all good”

That is to say that all good is in his hands, and all of the good actions that you do are both from Him and to Him – all of the righteous actions that you do are recorded with Him. This clause calls to jinn and men and brings them glad tidings, saying:

O wretched, indolent ones! When you go to your grave, do not say, ‘Woe is me! Our wealth has become nothing but a memory, and all of our striving has come to naught; we have left this beautiful, commodious world and entered a tight hole.’ Do not say, ‘woe to me,’ nor cry out sorrowfully, for all of your business and concerns have been preserved, and all of your works written down, and all of your services recorded. The Majestic Essence is going to recompense you for your services, and He in Whose hand is all good, and Who has the power to bring about all good actions, will draw you to Him and make you to wait temporarily under the earth, and then will He summon you to His presence.  Glad tidings to you, then, for you have completed your services and duties, and your hardships and troubles have come to an end, and you are journeying and proceeding towards repose and mercy – the hardship of service has come to an end, and you are on your way to take your wages.

Yes, the Almighty, Possessor of Majesty Who safeguards seeds and kernels – which are scrolls of last spring’s book of deeds, and little containers of their services – preserves them and distributes them in the next spring in a fashion even more magnificent and resplendent and indeed higher yielding than the original – yes, that Almighty, Possessor of Majesty certainty safeguards the fruits of your life likewise, and will cause many rewards to rain down upon you in return for your services.

The Tenth Clause: و هو على كل شيء قدير “and He has power over all things”

That is, He is One and Singular, He has power to do all things and nothing burdens Him, such that the creation of the entire spring is as easy for Him as the creation of a single flower. The creation of Paradise is as easy and simple as the creation of the spring. All of His illimitable works of art that He originates and creates, regeneratively and continually every day and every year and in every age, bear witness with infinite tongues to His infinite power.

It is thus that this clause too brings glad tidings, saying, ‘O man! The services that you have carried out and the servanthood that you have offered will not be in vain, for a realm of recompense and a place of bliss has been prepared for you. An eternal paradise awaits you, a replacement for this transient world of yours. Believe then and trust in the promise of the Majestic Creator Whom you worship and know, for it is impossible for Him to be unfaithful to His promise. In the first place, His power has no deficiency whatsoever, and [no form of] powerlessness can possibly intervene in His enterprises. He has the power to create Paradise for you just like He created your little back garden – and indeed, He already has created it, and promised it you, and since He has promised it, He will most certainly enter you into it,’ for by direct witnessing we see the fact that every year He gathers and scatters abroad more than three hundred thousand species of animals and plants according to a perfect order and balance, and with consummate [high] speed and ease, there is no doubt that that Almighty Possessor of Majesty has the capability to be faithful to His promise.

And as long as He is the Absolutely Almighty Who every year brings into existence thousands of forms of exemplar of the Resurrection and Paradise, and as long as He promises eternal bliss and gives the glad tidings of Paradise in all of His Royal, heavenly addresses, and as long as His Divine measures and activities are true and real and become completed with sincerity and seriousness, and as long as all perfections point and bear witness by the testimony of their effects to His infinite perfection, and to His having no deficiency whatever nor shortcoming, and as long as His being unfaithful to His promise, lying and deception are all extremely ugly characteristics that constitute [forms of] deficiency and shortcoming, there can be no doubt that that Almighty Possessor of Majesty, and that Wise Possessor of Perfection, and that Compassionate Possessor of Beauty will certainly and most certainly be faithful to His promise, and will open the gates to eternal bliss, and will enter you, O people of faith, into the Paradise that is the original homeland of your father Adam [as].

The eleventh clause:  و اليه المصير“and unto Him is the final end

That is to say, the people who were sent to this world for the sake of trade and to serve as officials with important duties, this world that is the realm of examination and testing, will after they have done their trade, finished their duties and completed their services, return once more to their August Creator that sent them, and they will arrive to their Generous Master and meet Him; that is, after they depart from this transient realm, they will stand upright and look up in the presence of the Possessor of Grandeur in the eternal realm – that is, they will meet their Compassionate Lord without veil nor cover in the centre of His eternal kingdom, after having been freed from the chaos of causation and the veils of dark [causal] intermediaries – everyone will without intermediary know Who their Creator is, Who it is that they worship, Who is their Lord, their Master and their Owner.

Thus does this clause bring glad tidings that surpass all glad tidings, saying, ‘O man, do you know where you are going? Where you are being driven to? And, as was said at the end of the ‘Thirty Second Word’: A thousand years of a happy life in this world neither equals nor resembles a single hour in the Paradise to which you are journeying, and a thousand years of the life of Paradise neither equals nor even resembles a single hour of the vision of His beauty; you are proceeding and journeying into the sphere of Divine mercy, and to the Lofty station of the Presence of the Beautiful Possessor of Majesty.

You are proceeding and journeying to the court of the Presence of the One Who is worshipped Who has always been, and the Beloved Who remains so, for Whom all of the metaphorical beloveds and beings existing in this world the beauty of which you crave after and are tempted by and long for are nothing but shadows of the manifestation of His beauty and the comeliness of His Names, and for Whom Paradise with all of its elegances is nothing but one of the manifestations of His mercy, and for Whom all the species of longing, love and attraction are but one of the flashes of His love; you are being called to Paradise that is His eternal banqueting hall – so enter the door of the grave laughing, not crying,’ and this clause gives further glad tidings, saying, ‘O people, do not imagine that you are going to annihilation, nonexistence, loss, darkness, forgetting, rotting, decaying and drowning in multiplicity; nay, you are going to ever-abidingness, not to annihilation, and you are being driven to perpetual existence, not to nonexistence, and you will enter light, not darknesses, and you are journeying towards the True Protector and Owner, and returning to the court of the Beginninglessly Eternal King. You will rejoice and rest in the sphere of Oneness, not drowning in multiplicity, and you have been orientated towards arrival and union, not separation.’

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*The Tenth Proof of Faith, From the Staff of Moses (upon whom be peace), The First Station of the ‘Twentieth Letter’

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