Fourth Point: It is the answer given to the doubtful questions of the worldly. This answer explains the divine assistance that cannot be denied by any means as a karamah belonging to the service of the Quran.

FOURTH POINT

The answer to a number of suspicious questions:

T h e   F i r s t : ‘The worldly’ say to me: “How do you live? What do you live on since you do not work? We don’t want people in our country who sit around idly and live off the labour of others.”

T h e   A n s w e r : I live through frugality and the resulting plenty. I am not obliged to anyone other the One Who Provides for me and I have taken the decision not to become obliged to anyone else. Yes, someone who lives on a hundred para, or even forty para, does not become obliged to anyone. I do not want to explain this matter. To do so is most disagreeable to me, as it may make me feel a sort of pride or egotism. But since ‘the worldly’ ask about it suspiciously, I reply as follows: since my childhood, throughout my life, it has been a principle of my life not to accept anything from the people, even zakat, not to accept a salary -only I was compelled to accept one for one or two years in the Darü’l-Hikmeti’l-Islamiye on the insistence of my friends- and not to become obliged to people for a worldly livelihood. The people of my native region and those who have known me in other places know this. During these five years of exile, many friends have tried earnestly to make me accept their gifts, but I have accepted none of them. And so, if it is asked me, “So how do you manage to live?”, I reply: I live through Divine bestowal and blessings. For sure, my soul deserves all insults and contempt, but as a wonder resulting from service of the Qur’an, I receive plenty and blessings which are a Divine bestowal in the matter of sustenance. In accordance with the verse,

But the bounty of your Sustainer rehearse and proclaim,1

I shall recall the bounties Almighty Allah has bestowed on me, and mention a few examples by way of thanks. But together with being thanks, I am frightened that it will induce hypocrisy and pride so that blessed plenty will be cut. For to make known a secret Divine gift of plenty causes it to cease. But what can I do, I am compelled to tell them.

And so, The First: This six months one bushel (kile)2 of wheat, consisting of thirty-six loaves of bread, has sufficed me. There is still some left, it is not finished. How much longer3 it will last, I do not know.

The Second: This blessed month of Ramadan I received food from only two houses, and both of them made me ill. I understood that I am prohibited from eating the food of others. The rest of the time, in the whole of Ramadan, three loaves of bread and one okka4 of rice sufficed me, as was witnessed and told by Abdullah ?avus, the owner of a blessed house and a loyal friend who saw my economizing. The rice even was finished two weeks after the end of Ramadan.

The Third: For three months on the mountain one kiyye5 of butter was enough for me and my guests, eating it every day together with bread. On one occasion even I had a blessed visitor called Süleyman. Both his bread and my bread were about to be finished. It was Wednesday. I told him to go and get some bread. For two hours’ distance to every side of us there was no one from whom he could have got any bread. He said that he wanted to stay with me on the mountain on Thursday night so that we could pray together. Saying, Our reliance is on Allah, I told him to stay. Later, although it had no connection with this and there was no reason for it, we both began walking till we reached the top of mountain. There was a little water in the ewer, and we had a small piece of sugar and some tea. I said to him: “Brother! Make some tea!” He set about making it and I sat down under a cedar-tree overlooking a deep ravine. I thought regretfully to myself: we have a bit of mouldy bread which will only just be enough for us this evening. What shall we do for two days and what shall I say to this ingenuous man? While thinking this, I suddenly turned my head involuntarily and I saw a huge loaf of bread on the cedar-tree in among the branches; it was facing us. I exclaimed: “Süleyman! Good news! Almighty Allah has sent us food.” We took the bread, and looking at it saw that no bird or wild animal had touched it. And for twenty or thirty days no one at all had climbed to the top of that mountain. The bread was sufficient for us for the two days. While we were eating and it was about to be finished, righteous Süleyman who had been the most loyal of loyal friends for four years, suddenly appeared from below with more bread.

The Fourth: I bought this sack coat that I’m wearing seven years ago second-hand. In five years I have spent only four and a half liras on clothes, underwear, slippers, and stockings. Frugality and Divine mercy and the resulting plenty have sufficed me.

Thus, there are numerous things like these examples and numerous sorts of Divine blessings. The people of this village know most of them. But do not suppose I am mentioning them out of pride, I have been forced to, rather. But do not think they were due to my goodness. These instances of plenty were either bestowal to the sincere friends who have visited me, or a bestowal on account of service to the Qur’an, or an abundance and benefit resulting from frugality, or they have been sustenance for the four cats I have which recite the Divine Names “O Most Compassionate One! O Most Compassionate One!”, which comes in the form of plenty and from which I benefit too.

Yes, if you listen carefully to their mournful miaowings, you will understand that they are saying, “O Most Compassionate One! O Most Compassionate One!” We have arrived at the subject of cats and it has recalled the hen. I have a hen. This winter every day almost without exception she brought me an egg from the treasury of Mercy. Then one day she brought me two eggs and I was astonished. I asked my friends “How can this be?” They replied: “Perhaps it is a Divine gift.” The hen also has a young chick she hatched in the summer. It started to lay at the beginning of Ramadan and continued for forty days. Neither I nor those who assist me have any doubt that, being both young, and in winter, and in Ramadan, this blessed situation was a Divine gift and bestowal. And whenever the mother stopped laying, it immediately started, not leaving me without eggs.

S e c o n d   S u s p i c i o u s   Q u e s t i o n : ‘The worldly’ ask: How can we be confident that you will not interfere in our world? If we leave you free, perhaps you may interfere in it. Also, how do we know that you are not being cunning? How do we know that it is not a stratagem, showing yourself to have abandoned the world and not taking things from the people openly, but secretly?

T h e   A n s w e r : My attitude and situation in the Court Martial and in the period before the proclamation of the Constitution, which are known by many, and my defence in the Court Martial at that time called The Testimony of Two Schools of Misfortune, show decisively that the life I lived was such that I would not resort to the tiniest wiles, let alone cunning and subterfuge. If trickery had been resorted to in this last five years, application would have been made to you in sycophantic manner. A wilely man tries to ingratiate himself. He does not hold back; he always tries to deceive and hoodwink. Whereas I have not condescended to lower myself by responding to the severest attacks and criticisms levelled at me. Saying, I place my trust in Allah, I turned my back on ‘the worldly.’ Moreover, one who discovers the reality of this world and knows the hereafter, is not sorry if he is sensible; he does not turn back to the world and struggle with it again. Someone after the age of fifty who has no connection with anything and is alone, will not sacrifice eternal life for one or two years of the chatter and deception of this world. If he does so, he is not cunning, but foolish and crazy. What can a crazy lunatic do so that anyone should bother with him? As for the suspicion of outwardly abandoning the world while inwardly seeking it, in accordance with the verse,

Nor do I absolve my own self [of blame]; the [human] soul is certainly prone to evil,6

I do not exonerate my soul, for it wants everything bad. But in this fleeting world, this temporary guest-house, during old age, in a brief life, it is not reasonable to destroy eternal, everlasting life and eternal happiness for a little bit of pleasure. Since it is not profitable for the reasonable and the aware, my soul has willy-nilly had to follow my reason.

T h e   T h i r d   S u s p i c i o u s   Q u e s t i o n : ‘The worldly’ say: Do you like us? Do you approve of us? If you do like us, why are you stand-offish and have nothing to do with us? If you do not like us, that means you object to us, and we crush those who object to us.

T h e   A n s w e r : Not you, if I had loved your world, I would not have withdrawn from it. I don’t like either you or your world. But I do not interfere with them. For I have different goals, different points have filled my heart; they have left no place in my heart to think of other things. Your duty is to look to the hand, not to the heart. For you seek your government and your public order. So long as the hand does not interfere, what right do you have to interfere in the heart and say, “the heart should love us too,” although you are in no way worthy of it? Yes, just as I desire and long for the spring during this winter, but I cannot will it nor attempt to bring it, so too, I long for the world to be righted and I pray for it and I want the worldly to be reformed, but I cannot will these things, because I do not have the power. I cannot attempt them in fact, because it is neither my duty, nor do I have the capacity.

F o u r t h   S u s p i c i o u s   Q u e s t i o n : ‘The worldly’ say: we have experienced so many calamities, we no longer have confidence in anyone. How can we be certain that given the opportunity you won’t interfere like you want to?

T h e   A n s w e r : The previous points should give you confidence. In addition, since I did not interfere in your world while in my native region among my students and relatives, in the midst of those who heeded me and of exciting events, for someone who is alone in exile, with no one, a stranger, weak, powerless, turned with all his strength towards the hereafter, cut off from all social intercourse and correspondence, who has only found a few friends from far afield who are also turned to the hereafter, and who is a stranger to everyone else and whom everyone else regards as a stranger-for such a person to interfere in your fruitless and dangerous world would surely be a compounded lunacy.

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1. Qur’an, 93:11.
2. 36.5 lbs. (Tr.)
3. It lasted a year.
4. About 2.8 lbs. or 1,300 grammes. (Tr.)
5. About 2.8 lbs. (Tr.)
6. Qur’an, 12:53.

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Fifth Point: It is an answer that will silence the worldly for the rules and bid’ahs they offered to Badiuzzaman Said Nursi.

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