The debate between Badiuzzaman Said Nursi and the Devil

We will quote a conversation between Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, who said, "I will prove that the Quran is a luminous light that does not go out and that cannot be extinguished" by devoting his wife to this cause, and the Devil.

I was listening to the Qur’an being recited in Beyazit Mosque in Istanbul. Suddenly, although I could not see anyone, I seemed to hear an unearthly voice which captured all my attention. I listened with my imagination, and realized that it was saying to me:

‘You consider the Qur’an to be extremely elevated and brilliant. Be unbiased for a minute and consider it again. That is, suppose it to be man’s word. I wonder whether you would still see the same qualities and beauty in it?’ In truth, I was deceived by the voice; I thought of the Qur’an as being written by man. And just as Beyazit Mosque is plunged into darkness when the electric switch is turned off, I observed that with that thought the brilliant lights of the Qur’an began to be extinguished. At that point I understood that it was the Devil who was speaking to me. He was drawing me towards the abyss. I sought help from the Qur’an and a light was at once imparted to my heart giving me firm strength for the defence. I began to argue back at the Devil, saying:

‘O Satan! Unbiased thinking is to take a position between two sides. Whereas what both you and your disciples from among men call unbiased thinking is to take the part of the opposing side; it is not impartiality, it is temporary unbelief. Because, to consider the Qur’an to be man’s word and to judge it as such is to take the part of the opposing side; it is to favour something baseless and invalid. It is not being unbiased, it is being biased towards falsehood.’ The Devil replied:

‘Well, in that case, say it is neither Allah’s Word nor man’s word. Think of it as between the two.’ To which I rejoined:

‘That is not possible either. For if there is a disputed property for which there are two claimants, and the claimants are close both to one another and to the property, the property will then either be given to someone other than them, or will be put somewhere accessible so that whoever proves ownership can take it. If the two claimants are far apart with one in the East and one in the West, then according to the rule, it will remain with the one who has possession of it, as it is not possible for it to be left somewhere between them.

‘Thus, the Qur’an is a valuable property, and however distant man’s word is from Allah’s, the two sides in question are that far apart; indeed, they are infinitely far from one another. It is not possible for the Qur’an to be left between the two sides, which are as far apart as the Pleiades and the ground.

For they are opposites like existence and non-existence or the two magnetic poles; there can be no point between them.

In which case, for the Qur’an, the one who possesses it is Allah’s side. It will be accepted as being in His possession, and the proofs of ownership will be regarded in that way. Should the opposing side refute all the arguments proving it to be Allah’s Word, it may claim ownership of it, otherwise it may not. God forbid! What hand can pull out the nails fastening that vast jewel to the Sublime Throne of Allah, riveted as it is with thousands of certain proofs, and break its supporting pillars, causing it to fall?’

‘And so, inspite of you, O Satan!, the just and the fair-minded reason in this equitable and rightful manner. They increase their belief in the Qur’an through even the slightest evidences.

While according to the way shown by you and your disciples, if just once it is supposed to be man’s word and that mighty jewel fastened to the Divine Throne is cast to the ground, a proof with the strength of all the nails and the firmness of many proofs becomes necessary in order to raise it from the ground and fasten it once more to the Throne, and so be saved from the darkness of unbelief and reach the lights of belief. But because it is extremely difficult to do this, due to your wiles, many people are losing their faith at this time by imagining themselves to be making unbiased judgements.’

The Devil turned and said:

‘The Qur’an resembles man’s word. It is similar to the way men converse. That means it is man’s word. If it was Allah’s Word, it would be appropriate to Him and would be altogether out of the ordinary. Just as His art does not resemble man’s art, so also should His Word not resemble man’s word.’

I replied:

‘It may be understood as follows: apart from his miracles and special attributes, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a human being in all his actions, conduct, and behaviour. He submitted to and complied with the Divine laws and commands manifested in creation. He too suffered from the cold, experienced pain, and so on. His deeds and attributes were not all made out of the ordinary so that he could be the leader of his community through his actions, its guide through his conduct, and instruct it through all his behaviour. If he had been out of the ordinary in all his conduct, he could not himself have been the leader in every respect, the total guide of everyone, the ‘Mercy to All the Worlds’ through all his attributes.

‘In just the same way, the All-Wise Qur’an is the leader to the aware and the conscious, the guide of jinn and men, the teacher of those attaining to perfection, and instructor of those seeking reality. It is of necessity and of a certainty, therefore, in the same form as man’s conversation and style. For men and jinn take their supplications from it and learn their prayers from it; they express their concerns in its language, and learn from it the rules of social behaviour, and so on. Everyone has recourse to it. If, therefore, it had been in the form of the Divine speech which the Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) heard on Mount Sinai, man could not have borne listening to it and hearing it, nor made it the point of reference and recourse.

Moses (Peace be upon him), one of the five greatest prophets, could only endure to hear a few words.

Next, the Devil said:

‘Many people speak of matters similar to those in the Qur’an in the name of religion. Is it not possible, therefore, that a human being did such a thing and made up the Qur’an in the name of religion?’

Through the light of the Qur’an I replied as follows:

‘Firstly: Out of love of religion, someone who is religious may say, ‘The truth is thus, the reality of the matter is this. Almighty Allah commands that.’ But he would not make Allah speak to suit himself. Trembling at the verse, Who, then does more wrong than one who utters a lie concerning Allah?, (Qur’an, 39:32.) he would not overstep his mark to an infinite degree, imitate Allah, and speak on His behalf.

‘Secondly: It is in no way possible for a human being to be successful in doing such a thing on his own, in fact, it is completely impossible. Individuals who resemble one another may imitate one another, those of the same kind may take on one another’s forms, those who are close to one another in rank or status may imitate one another and temporarily deceive people, but they cannot do so for ever. For in any event, the falseness and artificiality in their behaviour will show up their imposture to the observant, and their deception will not last.

If the one who is attempting to imitate another under false pretences is quite unlike them, for example, if an uneducated man wants to imitate in learning a genius like Ibn-i Sina, or a shepherd assume the position of a king, of course, they will not deceive anyone at all, they will only make fools of themselves. Everything they do will proclaim, ‘This is an impostor.’

‘Thus, to suppose – God forbid!, a hundred thousand times – the Qur’an to be man’s word is utterly impossible, no rational being can accept it as possible, to do so is a delirium like imagining to be possible something that is self-evidently impossible like a fire-fly being seen by astronomers as a real star for a thousand years; or a fly appearing to observers in the true form of a peacock for a year; or a bogus common private posing as a famous lofty field marshal, taking over his position and remaining in it for a long period without giving away his deception; or like a slandering, unbelieving liar affecting the manner and position of the most truthful, trustworthy, upright believer throughout his life and being completely unruffled before even the most observant while concealing his fraud from them.

‘In just the same way, if the Qur’an is supposed to be man’s word, then it has to be supposed, God forbid, that that Perspicuous Book, which is considered to be clearly a most brilliant star, rather, a sun of perfections perpetually scattering the lights of truth in the heavens of the world of Islam, is like a fire-fly, a spurious sham made up by a counterfeiting human. And those who are closest to it and study it most carefully do not realize this, and consider it to be a perpetual, exalted star and source of truth. Together with this being impossible a hundred times over, even if you went a hundred times further in your diabolical machinations, O Satan, you could not make such an assertion, you could not deceive anyone of sound reason! Only sometimes you trick people by making them look from a great distance, thus making the star appear as small as a fire-fly.

The Devil retorted:

‘How should I not deceive them? I have deceived most of mankind and their foremost thinkers into denying the Qur’an and Muhammad.’

I replied:

‘Firstly: When seen from a great distance, the greatest thing appears the same as the smallest.

It can be said that, "a star is like a candle". You deceive people by making them look at the Quran from a distance. You make that big star seem like a candle.

‘Secondly: Also, when seen both as secondary and superficially, something which is completely impossible may appear to be possible.

‘One time an old man was watching the sky in order to spot the new moon of Ramadan when a white hair fell on his eye. Imagining it to be the moon, he announced: ‘I have seen the new moon.’ Now, it is impossible that the white hair should have been the moon, but because his intention was to look for just the moon and the hair was by the way and secondary, he paid it no attention and thought that impossibility was possible.

Similarly, you make people look at the Quran randomly. You make them look at it superficially. You cover the eye with a single hair and prevent the eye from seeing the mountain.

‘Thirdly: Also, non-acceptance is one thing and denial is something quite different. Non-acceptance is indifference, a closing of the eyes to something, an ignorant absence of judgement. Many completely impossible things may be concealed within it, and the mind does not concern itself with them.

As for denial, it is not non-acceptance, but an acceptance of non-existence; it is a judgement. The mind is compelled to work. So a devil like you takes hold of the mind of a person, then leads it to denial.

O Satan! Showing the false as truth and the impossible as possible through satanic wiles like heedlessness, misguidance, fallacious reasoning, obstinacy, false arguments, pride, deception, and habit, you make those unfortunate creatures in human form swallow unbelief and denial, although they comprise innumerable impossibilities.

The Quran is such a book that it has the following properties:  

-It has given the ummah of Muhammad an order that will conquer this world and the hereafter with its strong laws, sound principles and the commands that penetrate spirits.

-It has trained the minds and educated the hearts of those that have been subject to it and dominated their spirits.

-In addition, it has cleared the consciences and made all organs and feelings do true tasks.

-It has guided the scholars, truthful people, saints and real men that have shined like bright stars in the sky of the realm of humanity.

-It has always taught humanity the truth, honesty, trust and security.

-It has given man happiness both in this world and the hereafter with the truths of belief and principles of Islam.

-It has made itself accepted in the world with many more deeds that we are unable to count.

It is nonsense of unbelief that will embarrass even devils to regard a book with so lofty virtues as - God forbid - worthless and fake.

The person who brought us this book is such a figure that he has the following properties:

-He taught man the laws of Allah with his solemn deeds throughout his life. 

-He taught man the laws of Allah with his solemn deeds throughout his life. 

-He showed man the true path and the way of endless bliss.

-As his enemies accepted, nobody saw anything deceitful about him and his enemies themselves accepted that he was a trustworthy person.   

-Every stage of his life witnessed that he feared torture of Allah very much and that he knew Allah and made Him known, loved Allah and made Him loved more than anybody else. 

-He led and has been leading one fifth of the humanity and half of the earth for 1400 years majestically. 

To say that the Quran is the word of a human being means to regard Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), whom the realm of humanity saw only once and will never see again, and who is the pride of the universe, as a fraud and creedless person - God forbid - who does not fear Allah and does not know Allah, and as a person in the lowest level of humanity, which is the darkest and ugliest form of unbelief and heresy. 

O Satan and disciples of Satan! 

The Quran is either the Word of Allah come from the Supreme Throne of Allah and His Greatest Name, or, God forbid, and again, God forbid, it is a human forgery fabricated on earth by someone without belief who neither feared Allah nor knew Him.

In the face of the above proofs, O Satan, you can neither say that, nor could you have said it, nor will you be able to say it in the future. Therefore, the Qur'an is the Word of the Creator of the universe. Because there is no point between the two; it is impossible and precluded that there should be. Just as we have proved in the most clear and decisive manner; and you have seen it and heard it.

In the same way, Muhammad (pbuh) is either Allah's Messenger and the highest of the prophets and the most superior of creatures, or, God forbid, he has to be imagined to be someone without belief having fallen to the lowest of the low because he lied concerning Allah, and did not know Allah, and did not believe in His punishment.

And as for this, O Devil, neither you nor the philosophers of Europe and hypocrites of Asia on whom you rely could say it, nor could you say it in the past, neither shall you be able to say it in the future, for there is no one in the world who would listen to it and accept it. It is because of this that the most corrupting of those philosophers and the most lacking in conscience of the hypocrites, even, admit that

"Muhammad (pbuh) was very clever, and was most moral and upright..."

Since this matter is restricted to these two sides, and the second one is impossible and no one at all claims it to be true, and since we have proved with decisive arguments that there is no point between them, for sure and of necessity, in spite of you and your party, Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) is the Prophet of Allah, and the highest of the prophets and the best of all creatures.

And now if you have anything to say, O Satan, say it.

Satan replied:

I cannot oppose what you say, nor defend myself. But there are many foolish people who listen to me; and many devils in human form who assist me; and many pharaohs among philosophers who learn things from me which flatter their egos.

They prevent the publication of works like yours. Therefore, I shall not lay down my arms before you.

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