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Yaz 95   [ 51. Sayı ]


The Supreme Sign

by Bediüzzaman Said Nursi

Sixth Point: The Qur’an’s truthfulness and veracity show that its six aspects are luminous. Indeed, the pillars of argument and proof beneath it; the flashes of the stamp of miraculousness above it; the gifts of happiness in this world and the next before it, its goal; the truths of heavenly revelation, the point of support behind it; the assent and evidence of innumerable upright minds to its right; and the true tranquillity, sincere attraction, and submission of sound hearts and clean consciences on its left all prove that the Qur’an is a wondrous, firm, unassailable citadel of both the heavens and the earth.

So too from these six levels, the Disposer of the universe has set His seal on its being sheer truth and right, and not being man’s word, and its containing no error — the Disposer, Who has made it His practice to always exhibit beauty in the universe, protect good and right, and eliminate imposters and liars, has confirmed and set His seal on the Qur’an by giving it the most acceptable, highest, and most dominant place of respect and degree of success in the world.

And so too the one who is the source of Islam and interpreter of the Qur’an — his believing in it and holding it in greater respect than everyone else, and being in a sleep-like state when it was revealed,24 and other words and speeches not resembling or coming near it, and that Interpreter’s describing without hesistation and with complete confidence through the Qur’an true cosmic events of generally the past and the future from behind the veil of the Unseen, and no trickery or fault being observed in him while being under the gazes of the sharpest eyes, and his believing and affirming every pronouncement of the Qur’an with all his strength and nothing shaking him, is a stamp confirming that the Qur’an is revealed and true and the blessed Word of his own Compassionate Creator.

Also a fifth of mankind, indeed the greater part of it, being drawn to the Qur’an and bound to it in religion and giving ear to it eagerly desirous of the truth, and according to the testimony of many indications and events and illuminations, the jinn, angels, and spirit beings also gathering around it in truth-worshipping fashion like moths whenever it is recited25 is a stamp confirming the Qur’an’s acceptance by all beings and that it occupies a most high position.

Also, all the classes of mankind from the most stupid and lowly to the cleverest and most learned taking their full share of the Qur’an’s instruction and their understanding its most profound truths, and all branches of scholars like the great interpreters of the Greater Shari‘a in particular, and hundreds of Islamic sciences and branches of knowledge, and the brilliant and exacting scholars of theology and the principles of religion extracting from the Qur’an all the needs and answers for their own sciences is a stamp confirming that the Qur’an is a source of truth and mine of reality.

Also, although the Arab literary figures, who were the most advanced in regard to literature, —those of them who were not Muslims— had the greatest need to dispute the Qur’an, their avoiding producing the like of only a single sura and its eloquence, eloquence being only one aspect of the seven major aspects of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, as well as the famous orators and brilliant scholars up to the present who have wanted to gain fame through disputing it being unable to oppose a single aspect of its miraculousness and their remaining silent in impotence, is a stamp confirming that the Qur’an is a miracle and beyond the powers of man.

Yes, the value, superiority, and eloquence of a speech or word is apparent through knowing, “from whom it has come and to whom, and for what purpose;” the Qur’an then can have no like, and none can reach it. For the Qur’an is a speech and address of the Sustainer of all the worlds and Creator of the whole universe and a dialogue in no way hinting of imitation and artificiality. It is addressed to the one sent in the name of all men, indeed of all beings, the most famous and renowned of mankind, the strength and breadth of whose belief gave rise to mighty Islam and raised its owner to the level of the “Distance of Two Bow-strings” and returned him as the addressee of the Eternally Besought One. It describes and explains the matters concerning happiness in this world and the next, the results of the creation of the universe, and the dominical purposes within it. It expounds also the belief of the one it addresses, which was the highest and most extensive of belief and bore all the truths of Islam. It turns and shows every side of the huge universe like a map, a clock, or a house, and teaches and describes it in the manner of the Craftsman Who made them — to produce the like of this Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition is not possible; the degree of its miraculousness cannot be attained to.

Also, thousands of precise and learned scholars of high intelligence have each written commentaries expounding the Qur’an, some of which are of thirty, forty, or even seventy volumes, showing and proving through evidence and argument the innumerable qualities, fine points, characteristics, mysteries, elevated meanings, and numerous indications concerning every sort of hidden and unseen matter in the Qur’an. And the one hundred and thirty parts of the Risale-i Nur in particular, each of which proves with decisive arguments one quality, one fine point of the Qur’an. Each part of it — like The Miraculousness of the Qur’an, and the Second Station of the Twentieth Word, which deduces many things from the Qur’an concerning the wonders of civilization like the railway and the aeroplane, and the First Ray, called Signs of the Qur’an, which makes known the indications of verses alluding to the Risale-i Nur and electricity, and the eight short treatises called The Eight Symbols, which show how well-ordered, full of meaning, and mysterious are the words of the Qur’an, and the small treatise proving in five aspects the miraculousness of the verses at the end of Sura al-Fath in regard to their giving news of the Unseen — each part of the Risale-i Nur shows one truth, one light of the Qur’an. All this forms a stamp confirming that the Qur’an has no like, is a miracle and a marvel, and that it is the tongue of the World of the Unseen in the Manifest World and the Word of One All-Knowing of the Unseen.

Thus, due to these qualities and characteristics of the Qur’an indicated above in six points, six aspects, and six levels, its sublime, luminous sovereignty and sacred, mighty rule has continued with perfect splendour illuminating the faces of the centuries and the face of the earth for one thousand three hundred years. And also on account of these qualities of the Qur’an, each of its letters has gained the sacred distinction of yielding at least ten rewards, ten merits, and ten eternal fruits, and the letters of certain verses and suras yielding a hundred or a thousand fruits, or even more, and at blessed times the light, reward, and value of each letter rising from ten to hundreds. The traveller through the world understood this and said to his heart:

“The Qur’an, which is thus miraculous in every respect, through the concensus of its suras, the agreement of its verses, the accord of its lights and mysteries, and the concurrence of its fruits and works, so testifies with its evidences in the form of proofs to the existence, unity, attributes, and Names of a Single Necessarily Existent One that it is from its testimony that the endless testimony of all the believers has issued forth.”

Thus, in brief allusion to the instruction in belief and Divine unity that the traveller received from the Qur’an, it was said in the Seventeeth Degree of the First Station:

There is no god but God, the One and Unique Necessary Existent, to Whose Necessary Existence in Unity points the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, the book accepted and desired by all species of angel, men and jinn, whose verses are read each minute of the year, with the utmost reverence, by hundreds of millions of men, whose sacred sovereignty over the regions of the earth and the universe and the face of time is permanent, whose spiritual and luminous authority has run over half the earth and a fifth of humanity, for more than fourteen centuries, with the utmost splendour. Testimony and proof is also given by the unanimity of its sacred and heavenly suras, the agreement of its luminous, divine verses, the congruence of its mysteries and lights, the correspondence of its fruits and effects, by witnessing and clear vision.

***

Our traveller, our voyager through life, knew now that faith is the most precious capital man can have, for it bestows on indigent man not some transient and ephemeral field or dwelling, but a palace, indeed an eternal kingdom as vast as the whole cosmos or the world itself. Faith also bestows on ephemeral man all he will need for life eternal; delivers from eternal annihilation wretched man who waits on the gallows for the arrival of fate; and opens to man an eternal treasury of everlasting felicity. The traveller then said to himself:

“Onward! In order to gain a further degree from among the infinite degrees of faith, let us refer to the totality of the cosmos, and listen to what it says. We will then be able to perfect and illumine the lessons we have received from its components and parts.”

Looking through the broad and comprehensive telescope he had taken from the Qur’an, he saw the cosmos to be so meaningful and well-ordered that it took on the shape of an embodied book of the Glorious One, an incarnate dominical Qur’an, a finely adorned palace of the Eternally Besought One, an orderly city of the Most Merciful. All the suras, verses, and words of that book of the universe, even its very letters, chapters, divisions, pages, and lines, through their constant meaningful effacement and reaffirmation, their wise changes and alternations, gave unanimous expression to the existence and presence of One Who has Knowledge of all things and Power over all things as the author of the book, of a Glorious Inscriber and a Perfect Scribe seeing all things in all things and knowing the relationship of all things with all things.

So too all the species and particles of the cosmos, all its inhabitants and contents, all that enters it and leaves it, all the providential changes and the wise processses of rejuvenation that occur in it — these proclaim in unison the existence and unity of an exalted craftsman, a peerless Maker Who sets to work with limitless power and infinite wisdom. The testimony of two great and vast truths, of a piece with the immensity of the cosmos, affirms this supreme witness of the cosmos.

FIRST TRUTH: These are the truths of ‘createdness’ and ‘contingency’ established with countless proofs by the gifted scholars of the principles of religion and the science of theology, as well as the sages of Islam. They said that since change and mutation are to be observed in the world and all things, the world must be ephemeral and created; it cannot be uncreated. If it is created, then there must be a Maker who created it. And if there is no cause to be found in the essence of a thing either for its being or for its non-being, so that these two are equally possible, that thing cannot be necessary and eternal.

It has further been proven with decisive arguments that it is not possible for things to create each other, since that would involve the absurd and false notion of causality and never-ending causal sequences. Hence the existence of a Necessary Existence becomes necessary, whose like cannot exist, whose similitude is impossible, all other than whom is contingent and created by him.

Yes, the truth of createdness has permeated the whole of the cosmos, and many instances of it are visible to the eye; the rest can be seen only by the intellect. For in front of our eyes a whole world dies every autumn, and together with it die hundreds of thousands of different kinds of plants and small animals, each member of each species being like a small cosmos unto himself. It is, however, so orderly and disciplined a death that all things leave behind in their places seeds and eggs that in the spring shall be the means of resurrection and rebirth, miracles of mercy and wisdom, miracles of power and knowledge. They hand to the seeds and eggs their book of deeds and plan of action, entrusting them to the wisdom of the Glorious Preserver and under His protection, and only then do they die.

In spring, the dead trees, roots and animals come to life again exactly as they were, thus providing hundreds of thousands of examples, specimens and proofs of the supreme resurrection. In the place of others, plants and animals resembling them exactly are brought into being and life, thus publishing the pages of the beings of the preceding spring, together with their deeds and functions, just like an advertisement. Thus they demonstrate one meaning of the verse,

When the pages are spread out.

Then also, with respect to the whole, each autumn a great world dies, and each spring a fresh world comes into being. That death and creation proceed in so orderly a manner, and so many separate deaths and creations occur within them, in such orderly and regular fashion, that it is as if the world were a traveller’s lodge where animate beings reside for a time, where travelling worlds and migrant realms come, fulfil their duties, and then go on their way. So there is apparent to all intellects, with the clarity of the sun, the necessary existence, infinite power and unending wisdom of a Glorious Being Who creates and brings into being in this world vital realms and purposive universes, with perfect wisdom, knowledge, and equilibrium, with balance, order and regularity, and Who then employs them for dominical purposes, Divine aims and Merciful goals, with full power and compassion. We leave to the Risale-i Nur and the books of the theologians the further discussion of matters related to createdness.

As for contingence, it prevails over and surrounds all of the cosmos. For we see that all things, universal or particular, big or small, from God’s Throne down to the ground, from the atom to the planet, all are sent to the world with a particular essence, a specific form, a distinct identity, particular attributes, wise qualities, and beneficial organs. Now to bestow on that particular essence and quiddity its peculiarities, from amongst the infinite possibilities available; to clothe it in its specific, distinctive and appropriate form, from among the possibilities and probabilities that are as numerous as the forms that may be conceived; to distinguish that being with the identity suited to it, from among the possibilities as numerous as the other members of its species; to endow with special, suitable and beneficial attributes the created object that is formless and hesitant midst the possibilities and probabilities that are as numerous as the varieties of attribute and degree; to affix to that aimless creature, perplexed and distraught amidst the innumerable possibilities and probabilities that result from the infinitude of conceivable paths and modalities —to affix to it wise qualities and beneficial organs and equip it with them— all of these are indications, proofs, and affirmations to the number of the innumerable possibilities of the necessary existence, infinite power and unlimited wisdom of the Necessary Existent Who creates, chooses, specifies, and distinguishes the quiddity and identity, the form and shape, the attribute and situation of all contingent beings, whether they be universals or particulars.

They indicate, too, that no object and no matter is hidden from Him, that nothing is difficult for Him, that the greatest task is as easy for Him as the smallest, that He can create a spring as easily as a tree, and a tree as easily as a seed. All this, then, pertains to the truth of contingence, and forms one wing of the great testimony borne by the cosmos.

Since the testimony of the cosmos, with its two wings and two truths, is fully established and explained in various parts of the Risale-i Nur, and particularly the Twenty-Second and Thirty-Second Words, as well as the Twentieth and Thirty-Third Letters, we refer our readers to those writings, and cut short an extremely long story.

SECOND TRUTH: As for the Second Truth that proceeds from the total scheme of the cosmos, which is also the second wing of its great and universal testimony, it is as follows:

There is to be seen a truth of co-operation among these beings that are attempting to maintain their existence, and if they are animate, their life, and fulfil their functions in the midst of constantly stirring changes and revolutions, a truth that lies far beyond their capacities.

For example, the elements hasten to aid animate beings; the clouds to help the vegetable kingdom; the vegetable kingdom, to help the animal kingdom; the animal kingdom, to help the human kingdom. Milk gushes forth from the breast, like the spring of Paradise, to succour the infant; the fact that animate beings are given their needs and sustenance in a manner that transcends their capacity, from unexpected places; the replenishing of the cells of the body with particles of food, through their being subjugated by their Sustainer and their employment at His merciful hands — all of these and numerous other examples of the truth of co-operation demonstrate the universal and compassionate dominicality of the Sustainer of All the Worlds, Who administers the cosmos like a palace.

Solid, inanimate and unfeeling objects, that nonetheless co-operate with each other in a sensitive and conscious fashion, must of necessity be caused to rush to each other’s aid by the power, mercy, and command of a Compassionate, Wise, and Glorious Sustainer.

The universal co-operation visible throughout the cosmos; the comprehensive equilibrium and all-embracing preservation prevailing with the utmost regularity in all things, from the planets to the members, limbs and bodily particles of animate beings; the adorning whose pen ranges over the gilded face of the heavens, the decorated face of the earth, and the delicate faces of flowers; the ordering that prevails over all things, from the Milky Way and solar system down to fruits such as corn and pomegranates; the assigning of duties to all things, from the sun and the moon, the elements and the clouds, down to honey-bees — all of these great truths offer a testimony of proportionate greatness, and their testimony forms the second wing of the testimony offered by the cosmos.

Since the Risale-i Nur has established and clarified this great testimony, we will content ourselves here with this brief indication.

In brief allusion to the lesson of faith learned by our traveller from the cosmos, we said in the Eighteenth Degree of the First Station:

There is no god but God, the Necessary Existent, the like of Whom cannot exist, other than Whom all things are contingent, the One, the Unique, to the Necessity of Whose Existence in Unity points the cosmos, the great book incarnate, the supreme Qur’an personified, the ornate and orderly palace, the splendid and well-arranged city, with all of its suras, verses, letters, chapters, parts, pages, and lines, with the agreement of its fundaments, species, parts and particles, its inhabitants and contents, what enters it and what leaves it; with the testimony of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of createdness, change and contingency; with the consensus of all scholars of the science of theology; with the testimony of the truth of the changing of its form and its contents, with wisdom and regularity, and the renewal of its letters and words with discipline and equilibrium; and with the testimony of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of co-operation, mutual response and solidarity, reciprocal care, balance and preservation, among all its beings, by witnessing and clear vision.

***

Then the ardent and inquisitive traveller, who was seeking the Creator of the world, had advanced by gaining knowledge of God indirectly through eighteen degrees and approached, at the end of an ascension in belief to the throne of truth, a station where in the presence of God, he addressed Him directly. He said to his own spirit:

“In the noble opening sura of the Qur’an, the verses that extend from the beginning to the word iyyaka (You alone) are like a form of praise and encomium uttered indirectly; but the word iyyaka signifies a coming into His presence and addresssing Him directly. So too we should abandon this indirect seeking and ask for the object of search from the object of our search. For one must ask the sun, that shows all things, concerning the sun, since that which shows all things will show itself even more clearly. Just as we perceive and know the sun by its rays, so too we can strive to know our Creator, in accordance with our capacities, through His Most Beautiful Names and Sacred Attributes.”

We will set forth here, with the utmost brevity and concision, two of the countless paths that lead to this goal; two of the infinite degrees of those two paths; and two of the abundant truths and details of those two degrees.

THE FIRST TRUTH: There appears visible to our eye a comprehensive, permanent, orderly and awesome truth, one that changes, transforms, and renews all beings in heaven and on earth, with imperious and incessant activity. Within the truth of that in every way wise activity, there is immediately perceived the truth of the manifestation of dominicality, and in turn, within the truth of that in every way merciful manifestation of dominicality, is recognizable the truth of the epiphany of Divinity.

From this continuous, wise and imperious activity, the deeds of an All-Powerful and All-Knowing Doer can be discerned, as if from behind a veil. And from behind the veil of these nurturing and administering deeds of dominicality, the Divine Names, manifest in all things, can be immediately perceived. Then behind the veil of the Beautiful Names, manifest with Glory and Beauty, can be deduced the existence and reality of the seven sacred attributes, according to the testimony of all creation, in a life-giving, powerful, knowledgeable, all-hearing, all-seeing, volitional and speech-endowed form, there appears to the eye of faith in the heart, self-evidently, necessarily, and with full certainty, the existence of a Necessary Existent that is described by these attributes, a Single One of Unity known by these Names, a Peerless and Eternal Doer, in a form more evidential and brilliant than the sun.

For a beautiful and profound book necessarily presupposes the act of writing and a well-built house presupposes the act of building; and the acts of writing beautifully and building well presuppose the names of writer and builder; and the titles of writer and builder obviously imply the arts and attributes of writing and building; and these arts and attributes self-evidently necessitate one who will be qualified by the names and attributes, and be the artist and craftsman. For just as it is impossible for there to be a deed without a doer, or a name without one designated by the name, so too it is not possible for there to be an attribute without one qualified by the attribute, and for there to be a craft without a craftsman.

On the basis, then, of this truth and principle, the universe with all the beings it contains resembles a collection of profound books and letters written by the pen of Divine Determining, and countless buildings and palaces constructed with the hammer of Divine Power. Each of these singly in thousands of ways and together in uncountable ways utters the following testimony:

These innumerable dominical and merciful deeds, and the endless manifestations of the thousand and one Divine Names which are the source of the deeds, and the infinite manifestations of the seven transcendent attributes which are the source of the Beautiful Names, in endless and infinite ways point to and testify to the necessary existence and unity of an All-Glorious Essence Which is the source of those all-embracing, sacred seven attributes and is qualified by them. And so too all the instances of beauty, loveliness, perfection, and exquisiteness found in those beings self-evidently testify all together to the sacred beauties and perfections of the dominical deeds, and the Divine Names, and attributes, and qualities, which are fitting and worthy of them, and to the sacred beauty of the Most Pure and Holy Essence.

So the truth of dominicality that manifests itself within the truth of activity reveals and makes itself known in qualities and acts such as creating, originating, fashioning and bringing into being, with knowledge and wisdom; determining, forming, administering and changing with regularity and balance; transforming, causing to descend and perfecting, with purpose and will; and feeding, nurturing, and bestowing generosity and bounty, with tenderness and mercy. And within the truth of the manifestation of dominicality, the truth of the immediately perceived revelation of Divinity makes itself known and recognized through the compassionate and munificent manifestations of the Beautiful Names and through the Glorious and Beauteous manifestations of the seven affirmative attributes: Life, Knowledge, Power, Will, Hearing, Sight, and Speech.

Just as the attribute of Speech makes the Most Sacred Essence known through revelation and inspiration, so too the attribute of Power makes the Essence known through its skilled works and effects, each of which is like a word assuming external shape. Presenting the cosmos from end to end under the aspect of an incarnate book of discernment, it describes and makes known a Powerful Possessor of Glory.

As for the attribute of Knowledge, it makes known a single Most Sacred Essence, through each of the wise, well-ordered and balanced objects of creation, through each creature administered, directed, adorned, and made distinct by God’s Knowledge.

As for the attribute of Life, it is proven not only by its own evidences, but also by all the works that proclaim God’s Power, by all the well-ordered, wise, balanced and adorned forms and states that indicate God’s Knowledge, as well as by all proofs of all other attributes. Thus Life, showing as witnesses all animate beings, which act as mirrors reflecting those abundant proofs, makes known an Eternally Living and Self-Subsistent Essence.

It is also this attribute that constantly changes the cosmos, in order to produce in it ever-fresh and various manifestations and designs, and turns it into a supreme mirror composed of countless smaller mirrors. Similarly, the attributes of Seeing and Hearing, Willing and Speaking, each reveal and make known the Most Sacred Essence, just as the cosmos does.

Then, too, just as the attributes point to the existence of the Possessor of Glory, they also indicate in most manifest fashion the existence and reality of life, and the livingness and permanence of that Essence. For Knowing is a sign of Life; Hearing is an indication of Life; Seeing belongs only to the living; Will takes place only with Life. Purposive Power is found only in living beings, and Speech is a task for those endowed with Knowledge and Life.

It follows from the foregoing that the attribute of Life has proofs seven times as numerous as the cosmos, and evidences that proclaim its existence and the existence of the One Whom it qualifies. Thus it comes to be the foundation and source of the attributes, the origin and support of the Supreme Name. Since the Risale-i Nur establishes this first truth with powerful proofs and clarifies it, we will content ourselves now with a drop from this ocean.

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