Third Matter which is the Third Booklet: Risale-i Nur fulfils an important duty of guidance today.
The Third Piece,
which is the Third Matter
[This Matter is a private and particular answer to a general question asked by most of my brothers through the tongue of disposition, and by some of them verbally.]
Q u e s t i o n : You say to everyone who visits you: “Do not await any saintly intervention from me and do not think of my person as being blessed. I possess no spiritual rank. Like a common soldier may convey the orders proceeding from the rank of field marshal, I convey the orders of what is in effect the rank of field marshal. And like a bankrupt may proclaim the precious diamonds of a jeweller’s shop, I announce the wares of a sacred, Qur’anic shop.” However, our hearts require an effulgence in the same way that our minds need knowledge, and our spirits require a light, and so on; we want many things in many respects. We came to visit you supposing you to be the person who would meet our needs. What we need is a saint, someone with saintly influence, someone of spiritual attainment, rather than a scholar. If the matter is really as you say, then perhaps we were wrong in visiting you? They ask this through the tongue of disposition.
T h e A n s w e r : Listen to the following Five Points, then think about them and judge whether your visits are pointless or beneficial.
The common servant and wretched soldier of a king gives some generals and pashas royal gifts and decorations in the name of the king, and makes them grateful. If the generals and pashas say: “Why do we lower ourselves before this common soldier and accept these gifts and bounties from him?”, it would be arrogant foolishness. The soldier too, if, outside his duty, he does not stand up before the field marshal and recognize him to be superior to himself, it would be stupid folly. If one of the grateful generals thankfully condescends to visit the soldier’s humble dwelling, the king, who sees and knows of the situation, will send dishes from the royal kitchen for his loyal servant’s eminent guest, so the soldier will not be shamed by having nothing to offer but dry bread.
Similarly, however lowly he may be, a loyal servant of the All-Wise Qur’an conveys its commands unhesitatingly and in its name to even the loftiest of people. With pride and independence, not abasing himself or begging, he sells the Qur’an’s precious diamonds to those who are rich in spirit. However lofty they are, they cannot be arrogant towards the common servant while he is carrying out his duty. Should they apply to him, the servant also may not make it a source of pride, and overstep his mark. If some of the customers for the sacred treasure regard the wretched servant as a saint and consider him to be exalted, certainly it is the mark of the Qur’anic truth’s sacred compassion to send them assistance, succour, and enlightenment from the Divine treasury, without the servant being aware of this or intervening, in order not to shame him.
Imam-i Rabbani, the Regenerator of the Second Millenium, Ahmad Faruqi (May Allah be pleased with him), said: “In my opinion, the unfolding and clarification of a single of the truths of belief is preferable to thousands of illuminations and instances of wonder-working. Moreover, the aim and result of all the Sufi paths are the unfolding and clarification of the truths of belief.” Since a champion of Sufism like Imam-i Rabbani made such a pronouncement, surely the Words, which expound the truths of belief with perfect clarity and proceed from the mysteries of the Qur’an, may yield the results sought from sainthood.
Thirty years ago dreadful blows descended on the heedless head of the Old Said and he pondered over the assertion ‘Death is a reality.’ He saw himself in a muddy swamp. He sought help, searched for a way, tried to find a saviour. He saw that the ways were many; he was hesitant. He took an omen from the book Futuh al-Ghayb of Gawth al-A‘zam, Shaykh Gilani (May Allah be pleased with him). It opened at these lines:
“You are in the Dar al-Hikma, so find a doctor who will heal your heart.”
It is strange, but at that time I was a member of the Darü’l-Hikmeti’l-Islamiye. It was as though I was a doctor trying to heal the wounds of the people of Islam, but I was sicker than they. A sick person must look to himself first, then he may look to others.
Thus, the Shaykh was saying to me: “You yourself are sick; find a doctor for yourself.” So I said: “You be my doctor!” I took him as my doctor and read the book as though it was addressing me. But it was most severe. It smashed my pride in the most fearsome manner. It carried out the most drastic surgery on my soul. I could not stand it. I read half of it as though it was addressing me, but did not have the strength and endurance to finish it. I put the book back on the shelf. Then a week later the pain of that curative operation subsided, and the pleasure came in its place. I again opened the book and read it right through; I benefited a lot from that book of my first master. I listened to his prayers and supplications, and profited abundantly.
Then I saw the Letters (Maktubat) of Imam-i Rabbani and took it in my hands. I opened it with pure intention to take an omen. It is strange, but in the whole of the Letters, the word Bediuzzaman appears only twice. And those two letters fell open for me at once. I saw that written at the head of them was: Letter to Mirza Bediuzzaman, and my father’s name was Mirza. Glory be to Allah! I exclaimed, these letters are addressing me. At that time the Old Said was also known as Bediuzzaman. Apart from Bediuzzaman Hamadani, I knew of no one else in the last three hundred years famous with the name. Whereas in the Imam’s time there was such a person and he wrote him these two letters. This person’s state must have been similar to mine, for I found these letters to be the cure for my ills. Only, the Imam persistently recommended in many of his letters what he wrote in these two, which was: “Make your qibla one.” That is, take one person as your master and follow him; do not concern yourself with anyone else.
This most important recommendation did not seem appropriate to my capacity and mental state. However much I thought: “Should I follow this one, or that one, or that other one?”, I remained in a state of bewilderment. Each had different characteristics which drew me, one was not enough for me. While thus bewildered, it was imparted to my heart by Allah’s mercy that “the head of these various ways and the source of these streams and the sun of these planets is the All-Wise Qur’an; the true single qibla is to be found in it. In which case, it is also the most elevated guide and most holy master.” So I clasped it with both hands and clung on to it. Of course with my deficient and wretched abilities I could not receive and absorb the effulgence, which is like the water of life, of that true guide as was its due, but still, through it, we can show that effulgence, that water of life, according to the degree of those who receive it- those who perceive the truth through their hearts and attain to certain spiritual states. That is to say, the Words and those lights, which proceed from the Qur’an, are not only scholarly matters pertaining to the intellect, they are rather matters of belief which pertain to the heart, the spirit, and spiritual states. They resemble most elevated and valuable knowledge of Allah.
All the subtle inner faculties of those of the Companions and of the following two generations who possessed the very highest degree of the ‘greater sainthood’ received their share from the Qur’an itself, and for them, the Qur’an was a true guide and sufficient for them. This shows that just as the All-Wise Qur’an states realities, so too it emanates the effulgences of the ‘greater sainthood’ to those capable of receiving them.
Yes, there are two ways of passing from the apparent to reality:
One is to enter the intermediate realm of Sufism, and to reach reality by traversing the degrees through spiritual journeying.
The Second Way is, through Divine favour, to pass directly to reality without entering the intermediate realm of the Sufi way. This is the elevated and short way particular to the Companions and those that succeeded them.
That is to say, the lights which issue from the truths of the Qur’an, and the Words, which interpret those lights, may possess those characteristics, and do possess them.
We shall demonstrate through five small examples that the Words both teach truth and the realities, and perform the function of guidance.
F i r s t E x a m p l e : I myself have formed the conviction through experiencing, not ten times or a hundred times, but thousands of times, that just as the lights proceeding from the Words and the Qur’an give instruction to my mind, so do they induce the state of belief in my heart and the pleasure of belief in my spirit, and so on. Even in matters pertaining to this world -in the same way that the follower of a wonder-working shaykh awaits from his shaykh assistance and saintly influence to answer his needs- while awaiting the answering of my needs from the wondrous mysteries of the All-Wise Qur’an, they have been achieved for me on numerous occasions in ways I had not hoped or expected. The following are only two minor examples:
The First: As is described in detail in the Sixteenth Letter, a large loaf of bread was shown in an extraordinary way to a guest of mine called Süleyman, at the top of a cedar tree. For two days, the two of us fed off that gift from the Unseen.
The Second Example: I shall recount a very insignificant yet subtle incident that occurred recently. It was this:
Before dawn, the thought came to me that some things had been said about me in a way that would cast suspicion into someone’s heart. I said to myself: If only I had seen the person and had dispelled that unrest from his heart. At that moment, I needed part of one of my books which had been sent to Nis, and I said to myself: If only I had had it back. Then after the morning prayer, I sat down and looked: that same person entered the room holding that part of the book in his hand. I said to him: “What is it you have in your hand?” He answered: “I don’t know. Someone gave it to me at my door saying that it had come from Nis; so I brought it to you.” Glory be to Allah! I said, this man coming from his house at this time of day and this part of the Words arriving from Nis does not look like chance. And thinking: it was surely the saintly influence of the All-Wise Qur’an that gave a man such as this a piece of paper such as that at the same moment and sent it to me, I exclaimed: All praise be to Allah! One who knows the smallest, most secret, least significant desire of my heart, will certainly have compassion on me and protect me; in which case, I feel no obligation towards the world whatsoever.
S e c o n d E x a m p l e : My nephew, the late Abdurrahman, had a much higher opinion of me personally than was my due, despite his having parted from me eight years previously and having been tainted by the heedlessness and worries of the world. He wanted help and assistance from me that I did not have and could not give. But the All-Wise Qur’an’s saintly influence came to his assistance: the Tenth Word about the resurrection of the dead came into his possession three months before his death. That Word cleansed him of his spiritual dirt and doubts and heedlessness, and quite simply as though he had risen to the degree of sainthood, he displayed three clear instances of wonder-working in the letter he wrote me before he died. It is included among the pieces of the Twenty-Seventh Letter, and may be referred to.
T h i r d E x a m p l e : I had a brother of the hereafter and student who was one of those who approach reality with their hearts, called Hasan Efendi from Burdur. He had an excessively good opinion of me, far greater than was my due, and expected assistance from this unfortunate one as though awaiting the grace and influence of a great saint. Suddenly, in completely unrelated fashion, I gave the Thirty-Second Word to someone to study who lived in one of the villages of Burdur. Later I remembered Hasan Efendi and I said: “If you go to Burdur, give it to Hasan Efendi, and let him read it for five or six days.” The man went and gave it straight away to Hasan Efendi. Thirty or forty days remained till his death. Like a man suffering a terrible thirst casts himself on water sweet as Kawthar that he happens upon, he cast himself on the Thirty-Second Word, continuously studying it and receiving its effulgence, especially the discussion on the love of Allah in the Third Stopping-Place, till he was completely cured of his ills. He found in it the enlightenment he would have expected from the greatest spiritual pole. He went to the mosque in good health, performed the prayer, and there surrendered his spirit to the Most Merciful. (May Allah have mercy on him.)
F o u r t h E x a m p l e : As is testified to by Hulûsi Bey’s piece in the Twenty-Seventh Letter, he found in the light-filled Words, which interpret the mysteries of the Qur’an, assistance and succour, effulgence and light greater than in the Naqshi way, which is the most important and influential Sufi order.
F i f t h E x a m p l e : My brother Abdülmecid suffered terribly at the death of Abdurrahman (May Allah have mercy on him) and at other grievous events. He also awaited from me assistance and influence I was unable to give. I was not corresponding with him. Suddenly I sent him some of the most important of the Words. After studying them, he wrote to me and said: “Praise be to Allah, I have been saved! I would have gone mad. Each of those Words became like a spiritual guide for me. I had parted from one guide, but I suddenly found lots of guides at once, and I was saved.” I realized that truly Abdülmecid had embarked on a good way and had been saved from his former difficulties.
There are numerous other examples like these five which show that if the sciences of belief are experienced directly as cures from the mysteries of the All-Wise Qur’an as a consequence of need and as healing for wounds, those sciences of belief and spiritual cures are sufficient for those who perceive their need and make use of them with earnest sincerity. Whatever the chemist and herald is like who sells and announces them -be he commonplace, or bankrupt, or rich, or a person of rank, or a servant- it does not make much difference.
Yes, there is no need to have recourse to candlelight while the sun shines. Since I am showing the sun, it is meaningless and unnecessary to seek candlelight from me, especially since I have none. Others should rather assist me with prayers, spiritual assistance, and even saintly influence. It is my right to seek help and assistance from them, while the right incumbent on them is to be content with the effulgence they receive from the lights of the Risale-i Nur.
Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise!
O Allah, grant blessings to our master Muhammad that will be pleasing to You and fulfilment of his truth, and to his Family and Companions, and grant them peace.
[A short, private letter that may be added as a supplement to the Third Matter of the Twenty-Eighth Letter.]
My Brothers of the Hereafter and Hard-Working Students, Husrev Efendi and Re’fet Bey!
We perceived three instances of Qur’anic wonder-working in the lights of the Qur’an known as the Words. Now through your effort and enthusiasm, you have caused a fourth to be added. The three I know are these:
T h e F i r s t is the extraordinary ease and speed in their writing. The Nineteenth Letter was written in two or three days working for three or four hours each day making a total of twelve hours, without any other book, in the mountains and orchards. The Thirtieth Word was written in five or six hours at a time of illness. The Twenty-Eighth Word, the discussion on Paradise, was written in one or two hours in Süleyman’s garden in the valley. Tevfik, Süleyman and I were astonished at this speed. And so on. And just as there is this wonder of the Qur’an in their composition....
T h e S e c o n d, ...so too in their being written out and copied there is an extraordinary facility, enthusiasm, and lack of boredom. One of these Words appears, and suddenly, although there are many things at this time to cause weariness to the mind and spirit, people in many places start to write it out with complete enthusiasm. They prefer it to anything else despite other important occupations. And so on.
T h e T h i r d Q u r ’ a n i c W o n d e r : The reading of them also does not cause boredom. Especially when the need is felt; the more they are read, the more pleasure is received from them, causing no weariness.
Now you have proved a Fourth Qur’anic wonder. A brother like Husrev who was lazy and although he had heard about the Words for five years did not start writing them seriously, in one month writing out fourteen books beautifully and carefully, is doubtless the fourth wonder of the Qur’an’s mysteries. The value of the Thirty-Three Windows in particular, the Thirty-Third Letter, was perfectly appreciated, since it was written out most beautifully and carefully. Yes, it is a most powerful and brilliant piece for attaining knowledge of Allah and belief in Allah. Only, the first Windows are very concise and abbreviated, but the subsequent ones gradually unfold and shine more brilliantly. Contrarily to other writings, most of the Words start off concisely and gradually expand and illuminate.
- First Principle: The viewpoints of the Qur'an and philosophy towards the universe. The explanation of the following notions: "the meaning which looks to the thing itself" and "significative meaning".
- The Death of Abu Lahab on disbelief (Kufr)
- Conclusion to the Seventh Matter: The elimination of doubts about the unknown signs that come in the form of divine help.
- The Holy Qur’an; the Preserved Book
- First Topic: It is an answer given to Satan and the delusion of his followers about the Quran.
- A Second, small Objection of Satan: explains the Qur'an's conciseness, which is one of the most important miraculous aspects of the Qur'an, upon the objection of Satan.
- Second Point: The Quran challenging the people of knowledge and understanding.
- First Point: The levels of people in understanding the miraculousness of the Quran.
- The Addendum to the Fifteenth Word is an answer to the delusion of Satan and his followers concerning the Qur'an.
- Second Radiance: The continuing youth of the Qur'an in every age; its rules and laws are ageless; a comparison between the civilization of the Qur'an and human civilization.