Fifth Satanic Stratagem: Egotism and conceit.


Profiting from egotism, the supporters of the people of misguidance want to draw away my brothers from me. Truly, man’s most dangerous vein is egotism. It is his weakest vein, too. They can make people do terrible things by encouraging it. My brothers! Beware, do not let them strike you with egotism, do not let them hunt you with it! You should know that this century the people of misguidance have mounted the ego and are galloping through the valleys of misguidance. The people of truth have to give up the ego if they are to serve the truth. Even if a person is justified in making use of the ego, since he will resemble the others and they too will suppose he is self-seeking like them, it is an injustice to the service of the truth. In any event, the service of the Qur’an around which we are gathered does not accept the ‘I’, it requires the ‘we.’ It says: “Don’t say ‘I’, say ‘we.’”

Of course, you have realized that this poor brother of yours did not set out with the ‘I’. And he did not make you serve it. Indeed, he showed himself to you as an ego-free servant of the Qur’an. He does not care for himself and has taken as his way not taking the part of his ego. In any event, he has proved to you with decisive evidence that the works that have been presented for general benefit are common property; that is, they have issued from the All-Wise Qur’an. Nobody can claim ownership of them through his ego. Even if, to suppose the impossible, I did claim them as my own through my ego, as one of my brothers said: since this door of Qur’anic truth has been opened, the scholars and those seeking perfection should not consider my defects and insignificance, and hold back from following me; they should not consider themselves self-sufficient. For sure, the works of the former righteous and exacting religious scholars are a huge treasury sufficient for every ill, but it sometimes happens that a key has more importance than the treasury. For the treasury is closed, while the key may open lots of treasuries.

I reckon that those whose egotism in regard to their learning is excessive have understood that the Words that have been published are each keys to the truths of the Qur’an and diamonds swords smiting those who try to deny those truths. The people of virtue and perfection and those who are strongly egotistical in regard to their learning should know that the students are students not of me, but of the All-Wise Qur’an, and I study along with them.

And so, if, to suppose the impossible, I claimed to be the master, since we have a way of saving all the classes of the people of belief -from the common people to the upper classes- from the doubts and scepticism to which they are exposed, then let those scholars either find an easier solution, or let them take the part of our solution, and teach it and support it. There is a grave threat towards the ‘bad religious scholars.’ Religious scholars have to be especially careful at this time. So suppose, like my enemies, that I perform a service like this for the sake of egotism. Since a large number of people give up their egotism and gather around a Pharaoh-like man with complete loyalty for some worldly and national aim and carry out their work in complete solidarity, does this brother of yours not have the right to ask of you solidarity around the truths of belief and the Qur’an by giving up egotism, like those corporals of that worldly society, so long as he concealed his egotism? If even the greatest of the scholars among you were not to agree, would they not be in the wrong?

My brothers! The most dangerous aspect of egotism in our work is jealousy. If it is not purely for Allah’s sake, jealousy interferes and spoils it. Just as one of a person’s hands cannot be jealous of the other, and his eye cannot envy his ear, and his heart cannot compete with his reason, so each of you is like one sense, one member, of the collective personality of the totality we make up. It is not being rivals to one another, on the contrary, to take pride and pleasure in one another’s good qualities is a basic obligation springing from the conscience.

One other thing remains and it is the most dangerous: among yourselves and among your friends to feel jealous of this poor brother of yours is most dangerous. There are scholars of standing among you, and some scholars are egotistical in regard to their learning. Even if they themselves are modest, they are egotistical in that respect. They cannot easily give it up. Whatever their hearts and minds may do, their evil-commanding souls want eminence, to sell themselves, and even to dispute the treatises that have been written. Although their hearts love the treatises and their minds appreciate them and recognize their worth, due to jealousy arising from the egotism of learning, their souls want to reduce the value of the Words, as though nurturing an implicit enmity towards them, so that the products of their own thought can compete with them and be sold like them. But I have to tell them this:

Even if those in this circle of Qur’anic teaching are leading scholars and authorities on the Law, their duties in respect of the sciences of belief are only explanations and elucidations of the Words that have been written, or the ordering of them. For I have understood through many signs that we have been charged with the duty of issuing fatwas concerning these sciences of belief. If someone within our circle writes some things outside an explanation or elucidation due to a feeling in his soul arising from the egotism of learning, it will be like a cold dispute or a deficient plagiarism. Because it has become established through numerous evidences and signs that the parts of the Risale-i Nur have issued from the Qur’an. In accordance with the rule of the division of labour, each of us has undertaken a duty, and we make those distillations of the water of life reach those who are in need of them!

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