Third Warning by Badiuzzaman Said Nursi Regarding Prayers
O my impatient soul! Is it at all sensible to think today of past hardships of worship, difficulties of the prayers, and troubles of misfortune, and be distressed, and to imagine the future duties of worship, service of the prayers, and sorrows of disaster, and display impatience?
In being thus impatient you resemble a foolish commander, who, although the enemy’s right flank joined his right flank and became fresh forces for him, sent a significant force to the right flank, and weakened the centre. Then, while there were no enemy soldiers on the left flank, he sent a large force there, and gave them the order to fire. No forces then remained in the centre, and the enemy understood this and attacked it and routed him.
Yes, you resemble this, for the troubles of yesterday have today been transformed into mercy; the pain has gone while the pleasure remains. The difficulty has been turned into blessings, and the hardship into reward. In which case, you should not feel wearied at it, but make a serious effort to continue with a new eagerness and fresh enthusiasm. As for future days, they have not yet arrived, and to think of them now and feel bored and wearied is a lunacy like thinking today of future hunger and thirst, and starting to shout and cry out.
Since the truth is this, if you are reasonable, you will think of only today in connection with worship, and say: “I am spending one hour of it on an agreeable, pleasant, and elevated act of service, the reward for which is high and whose trouble is little.” Then your bitter dispiritedness will be transformed into sweet endeavour.
My impatient soul! You are charged with being patient in three respects:
The first one is patience in obedience. You need to show patience in fulfilling fards and commands.
The second one is patience in refraining from sin. You need to show patience in avoiding harams and sins.
The third one is patience in the face of disasters. You need to show patience in the face of misfortuens and consent to the decree of qadar.
If you are intelligent, take as your guide the truth apparent in the comparison in this warning. Say in manly fashion: “O Most Patient One!”, and shoulder the three sorts of patience. If you do not squander on the wrong way the forces of patience Almighty God has given you, they should be enough to withstand every difficulty and disaster. So hold out with those forces!
We have understood from this warning that God Almighty gives everybody a daily force of patience. This force of patience is enough to fulfill the fards, avoid harams and show patience against disasters. However, man makes a mistake and squanders the forces of patience; he sends some of them to the future and some to the past. He cannot fulfill the worship of the current time with the patience that remains and cannot put up with disasters.
Let us explain with an example: For instance, a person's son dies. If the degree of the severity of the death of his son is ten, God Almighty sends him a force of patience of ten degrees to make him show patience in the face of that misfortune. When the degree of the misfortune is ten, the degree of the patience that is given to him is also ten. This person thinks of the past days of his son and his memories with him in the past and sends three degrees of the patience to the past. Then, he thinks as follows: if he had not died, we would have done this and that in the future; thus, he sends three degrees of the patience to the future. There remains only four degrees of patience. Since the degree of the misfortune is ten and the degree of the patience that remains is four, he cannot put up with that misfortune and starts to cry. If he had not squandered his patience, he could put up with that misfortune.
For instance, a person is sent a force of patience of twenty degrees so that he will perform daily worship. The force of the daily worship also has twenty degrees. However, this person makes a mistake here. He sends five degrees of his patience to the past. That is, he thinks about the hardships of his worship in the past. He sends five degrees of his patience to the future. That is, he thinks about the worship he will have to perform in the future. There remains ten degrees in his hand. However, he needs twenty degrees of patience to perform his daily worship. Therefore, he cannot perform the fards that day. So, man should not squander his patience and think as follows: "I have performed the afternoon prayer. There is no fard prayer to be performed now. The evening prayer? It has not come yet. I might or might not live until the evening. If I live, my Lord will send me the patience necessary for it. I will think about that prayer when the sun sets."
He should also think as follows: "I will perform the fasting of Ramadan today with the patience given to me. Tomorrow? It is not tomorrow yet. It is not necessary to think about tomorrow now. I might not live until tomorrow. If I do, my Lord will give me enough patience to perform fasting tomorrow. I will think about tomorrow when tomorrow comes."
One should think as follows regarding not committing sins: "I will not commit any harams today. I will not drink alcohol, I will not backbite and I will not go to haram places." If he is asked, "How will you put up with them every day?", he should answer as follows: "I will not do them today. I am not talking about every day. Tomorrow? It is not tomorrow yet. I might not live until tomorrow. If I do, tomorrow's patience will be given to me tomorrow. It is not logical to send the patience of today to another day that has not come yet and to weaken today."
Man can even get rid of bad habits by thinking like that. For instance, a person who smokes can think as follows: "I will not smoke today. Tomorrow? It is not tomorrow yet. I will think about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. Tomorrow's patience will come tomorrow. I have no guarantee that I will live until tomorrow; I might be in the grave tomorrow. It is useless to think about tomorrow today and to send the patience to that day."
Then, o he who does not perform prayers! Use your patience daily like that. Use it separately for each prayer. For, you have no guarantee that you will live until the next prayer time. Regard each prayer as your last prayer. Thus, prayers will not make you bored and tired; and you will perform each prayer enthusiastically and with pleasure as if it is your last prayer.