The Third Letter explains that there are infinite difficulties in the way of unbelief.
The Third Letter
In His Name, be He glorified!
And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.
[Part of a letter sent to the well-known student of his.1]
F i f t h l y : You wrote in one of your letters to me that you wanted to share in my feelings here, so listen now to one thousandth of them.
One night at the height of a hundred-storey building in my tree-house at the top of a cedar tree, I looked at the beautiful face of the heavens gilded with stars and saw in the All-Wise Qur’an’s oath of,
So verily I call to witness the planets * That recede, go forth, or hide2
an elevated light of miraculousness and brilliant secret of eloquence. This verse, which refers to the planets and their being concealed and spread abroad, displays to the gaze of observers a most elevated embroidery of art and exalted and instructive tapestry. These planets emerge from the sphere of the sun, their commander, and entering that of the fixed stars, display fresh embroideries and instances of art in the skies. Sometimes they come shoulder to shoulder with another star like themselves and display a beautiful situation. And sometimes they enter among the small stars and take up the position of commander. Especially in this season after evening, Venus on the horizon, and before the early dawn one of its shining companions, display a truly graceful and lovely scene. Later, after carrying out their duties as inspectors and acting as shuttles in the tapestries of art, they return, and entering the dazzling sphere of the sun, hide themselves. Now they demonstrate as brilliantly as the sun the majesty of dominicality and glittering Divine sovereignty of the One Who spins this earth of ours and the planets described in the above verse with perfect order in space, each like a ship or aeroplane. See that majestic dominion which has under its sway ships and aeroplanes a thousand times greater in size than the earth, and that travel thousands of times faster.
You can see from this then what an elevated happiness, what a great honour, it is to be connected to such a Monarch through worship and belief, and to be his guest.
Then I looked at the moon, and saw a shining light of miraculousless in the verse,
And the moon, We have measured for her mansions till she returns like the old lower part of a date stalk.3
Indeed, the determining, rotating, regulating, and illuminating of the moon, and its positioning in regard to the earth and the sun with an extremely precise reckoning is so wonderful, so astonishing, that for the All-Powerful One Who orders and determines it thus nothing at all could be difficult. It instructs all beings with intelligence who behold it, conveying to them the idea, “The One Who makes it thus can surely do everything.” And it follows the sun so that it does not deviate from its path even for a second, or lag behind one iota in its duties. It makes those who observe it carefully exclaim: Glory be to the One Whose art bewilders the mind! Especially when like at the end of May it sometimes comes into conjunction with the Pleiades in the shape of fine crescent, displaying the form of the curved white branch of a date-palm, and the Pleiades appearing as a bunch of grapes, it conjures up in the imagination the existence of a huge luminous tree behind the veil of the green heavens. As if the pointed tip of one of the tree’s branches had pierced the veil and stuck out its head together with its bunch of grapes and become the Pleiades and the crescent moon, and the other stars had become the fruits of that hidden tree. So see the subtlety and eloquence of the metaphor of,
Like the old lower part of a date stalk.
Then this verse occurred to me,
He it is Who has made the earth submissive to you, so traverse its tracts,4
which suggests that the earth is a subjugated ship or mount. From this I saw myself high up in a huge ship journeying at speed through space. I recited the verse,
Glory be to Him Whom has subjected these to us, for we could never have accomplished this,5
which it is Sunna to recite when mounting means of transport like horses or ships.6
I saw that with this motion the globe of the earth had taken the position of a projector showing images like in the cinema; it brought into movement all the heavens, and began to mobilize all the stars like a magnificent army. It shows such fine and lofty scenes that it intoxicates and fills with wonder those who think. “Glory be to Allah!”, I exclaimed; what numerous, vast, strange, wonderful, and elevated works are performed at so little expense. Two subtle points concerning belief occurred to me from this:
The First: A few days ago I was asked a question by a guest; its basis, which displayed doubt, was this: Paradise and Hell are a great distance away. Through Divine grace, the people of Paradise will pass through the resurrection like lightening or like Buraq, and enter Paradise. But the people of Hell, how will they go, with their heavy bodies and loaded down with the heavy burdens of their sins? By what means will they travel?
What occurred to me was this: like if for example all nations are invited to a general congress in America and each boards a huge boat and goes there; in the same way, the globe of the earth, which travels the long distance of twenty-five thousand years in one year in the vast ocean of the universe, will take on its people, travel to the field of the resurrection, and disembark them. Furthermore, the Hell at the centre of the earth, which is indicated by the fact that the earth’s temperature increases one degree every thirty-three metres, will pour its fire, whose temperature of 200,000° is similar to that described in Hadith and according to Hadiths will carry out some of the duties of the Greater Hell in this world and the Intermediate Realm, into the Greater Hell, then at a Divine command, the earth will be transformed into a better and eternal form, and become one of the dwelling-places of the hereafter.
The Second Point which comes to mind: it is the custom of the All-Powerful Maker, the All-Wise Creator, the Single One of Unity, in order to demonstrate the perfection of His power and beauty of His wisdom and proofs of His Unity, to perform many works with very little and to have large duties carried out by small things. As I have said in some of the Words, if all things are attributed to a single being, things become so easy as to be necessary. Whereas if things are attributed to numerous makers and causes, as many difficulties arise as to make it impossible. For a single individual like an officer or master builder easily gives a single situation to numerous soldiers or numerous stones with a single act, a single movement, and obtains a result. But if, in order to obtain that situation and result, they were referred to the soldiers in the army or the stones of the dome, which is without support, they could only be achieved with truly numerous acts, numerous difficulties, and great confusion.
And so, if the acts like the whirling and rotations, the circulation and revolutions, and the glorification-scattering promenading and the excursions of the four seasons and day and night in the universe are ascribed to unity, then by impelling a single globe with a single command, a Single Being can obtain those elevated situations and exalted results, like displaying the wonders of art in the alternation of the seasons, and the wonders of wisdom in the revolutions of day and night, and the graceful spectacles in the apparent motions of the stars, sun, and moon. For the army of all beings is His. If He wishes, He may appoint a soldier like the earth as commander of all the stars, make the mighty sun a lamp furnishing heat and light for his people, and the four seasons, which are tablets of the inscriptions of His power, as shuttles, and night and day, which are pages for the writings of His wisdom, He can make into bows. By showing to each day the moon in a different shape, He makes it into a calendar for reckoning time. And just as He makes the stars adorned, elegant, shining lanterns in the hands of the angels, dancing in ecstasy, so too He demonstrates many instances of their wisdom concerning the earth. If these situations are not sought from One Being Whose command, order, law, and regulation address all beings, then all the suns and stars would have to cut an infinite distance each day with actual motion and infinite speed.
It is because of this infinite ease in unity and infinite difficulty in multiplicity that businessmen and industrialists give a unity to multiplicity and so secure an ease and facility; that is, they form companies.
In Short: There are infinite difficulties in the way of misguidance, and infinite ease in the way of unity.
The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One!
S a i d N u r s i
1. See, p. 30, fn. 1.
2. Qur’an, 81:15-16.
3. Qur’an, 36:39.
4. Qur’an, 67:15.
5. Qur’an, 43:13.
6. Muslim, Hajj 425; Abu Da’ud, Jihad 72, 74; Tirmidhi, Da’wat 46.
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The Fourth Letter states that Risale-i Nur received the honor of having the manifestations of Allah Almighty's names of Rahim (the Compassionate) and Hakim (the Perfectly Wise) and describes the skies and stars poetically.
- The Addendum to the Tenth Phrase of the Twentieth Letter: It shows that there is an infinite facility in divine unity and endless difficulties in multiplicity and associating partners with Allah.
- The Fourteenth Word: Some verses and Hadiths which are difficult to understand: The creation of heavens and the earth in six days.
- First Ray: The omnipresence of Allah and His closeness to everything more than anything; Divine Unity and Oneness.
- The Thirty-Third Word: It explains that there is a window opening to Almighty Allah in everything with thirty-three examples.
- Second Station: It is a summary about the proof of oneness from the point of the Greatest Name.
- Introduction / First Indication: The explanation of the characters of the previous story. The universe indicates a creator who has absolute sovereignty.
- Fourth Point: It explains why the style in the spiritual miraculousness of the Quran cannot be translated.
- Second Principle: The reality of the Ascension.
- Twelfth Principle: The distinctness of the point of view of the Qur'an and philosophy and the results that arise from this distinction.
- Third Point: The uniqueness and wondrousness of the Qur'an's style.