What is the Meaning of Life for the Atheist and the Believer?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

An excerpt from Dr. Furkan Aydıner's interview with an atheist named Thomas:

F: I want to ask you a question I have been wondering for a long time. As an atheist, I want to learn about your perspective on life. Do you have a purpose for your life? What do you live for? What do you think of the afterlife of this world?

T: You have asked deep questions. I think it will take all of our meeting today to negotiate these questions.

For an atheist, life itself has no purpose. That is, we did not come to the earth with a mission or purpose. We emerged by chance as a result of the evolution process. We may not have emerged at all. However, because we are conscious beings, we add meaning to our lives. We set ourselves a mission and determine goals. In this sense, the goal of my life is to do something that will be useful to myself and people. To leave a great legacy when I die. Death is absolute absence for me. Everything will be destroyed for me after I die. It is an obvious truth ... Sad but true!

I have said it before. I have a desire to continue my existence eternally.[1] This desire cannot reverse the fact that one day I will die and disappear. Instead of comforting myself, I simply accept the fact of absence. That's it.

How do you define the purpose of life? What are your expectations from life?

F: Al-Hayy Al-Qayyum (the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal), who gave me life, determined the purpose of my life. He equipped me with limitless abilities and sent me to this world guesthouse for testing. Just as a farmer sows a seed in the ground so too did my Lord sow me in the field of this world so that I would give permanent crops in the eternal realm. My duty is to develop my abilities with the water of Islam, the light of faith and the soil of worship, instead of spending my abilities in the path of worldly goals and the desires of the soul, and destroying them forever. [2]

I believe that when I lead a life in accordance with my Lord's consent, I will find true, pure and permanent happiness both in this world and in the eternal world. Thanks to my belief in Allah and the Hereafter, I find meaning and beauty in everything; so, I do my responsibilities and find peace in my heart.  Honestly, I wonder how atheists, who think death as absence, get pleasure from life. 

T: Like everyone else, we get pleasure from life too. Do you think we taste grass when you get a sweet taste while eating candy? Because we're human, we get bitterness and flavors from similar things.

F: You are right. When we sit at the same table, if we are healthy, we can taste similarly because our organs that experience the flavors in foods are the same. However, the difference in the perspective of life can turn the same table into torture for a person while making the same table delicious tastes for the other. Let me explain what I mean with an example:

Let's say when you got out of here, someone grabbed you and forced you somewhere.  When you went in and looked around, you saw that there was a wonderful table set up; all the foods you liked. It was beautifully decorated. You were told that this magnificent feast was prepared for you. You could eat as much as you wanted. While you were sitting at the table and reaching out to the spoon, you also saw that there were armed men all over the palace and they aimed their gun barrels at you. When you wondered and asked the reason for it, they said to you:
 “You have been sentenced to death. We can fulfill the decision at any time. Within 60 minutes at the latest, the decision will be fulfilled and you will be killed.”
Now, in a situation like this, does the food you eat give you good taste, or is it bitter like poison?

T: You are right, it would give a taste like poison. But there is no one chasing us with a gun! What do you mean by the example you gave?

F: I want to tell you that the life executioner is constantly following us. I want to point out that it is not possible for someone who believes that death is absolute absence to enjoy his life since there is a possibility of dying at any moment. 

T: Because science can't cure death, we are almost certain to die. If death happened to only atheists, it might be difficult. Now that everyone is going to die, there is no need to worry.

F: First of all, the phrase ”we are almost certain to die” is not true. Since there is not a single person who has ever survived death, and even stars, galaxies, let alone human beings, have not survived the clutches of death, it would be more accurate to say, “we will surely die.” Death will come to us, like the certainty that spring will come after each winter, morning will come after night. As for death to come to someone else, a person who is not selfish should not be comforted by it, but suffer from it. If death only came to you, you would suffer your own pain. But its coming to all your beloved ones should make your pain even worse. A man who is sentenced to death with all his beloved ones suffers more than a man who is sentenced to death alone.

T: There is a famous saying: “When I'm alive there is no death, when death comes, I will disappear.” So, I can enjoy my life without worrying about death.

F: In my opinion, someone who loves life and realizes that death is inevitable cannot ignore the fact of death. However, the majority of people ignores this fact and lives like an ostrich.[3] Although we mentally admit that one day we will die, we live in a deception as if we will never die.

I once did a small "death survey". I asked people I met when they expected to die. First, when I asked myself, I realized that although I mentally agreed that I would die at any moment, I didn't expect to die until I became old. If the angel of death came even in an hour, a day, a week, a year, or even a few years, it would be a huge surprise to me. When I asked other people, I understood that many people, like me, lived away from the truth of death. However, if everyone knew for sure that the Doomsday would break tomorrow, I think both their priorities and their lives would change greatly. That is why the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised believers to remember death very often because the believer focuses on the purpose of life to the extent that he/she remembers death. 

T: I agree with you. Many people don't take death very seriously. However, I am not like that. I thought very much about the truth of death mentally. After I realize it's inevitable, I try to accept it and live my life. Besides, I don't think there's any point in constantly wandering around with the thought of death, like an obsession.

F: I do not say, “Let's think about death like a nightmare and focus on that nightmare all the time.” I say, “Let's comprehend the truth of death with our minds and determine our lives and priorities accordingly.” Anyone who observes what happens to living beings with the eyes of reason sees this world as a kind of prison set up for those who are "sentenced to death".

In the city of Gainesville, Florida, there is a prison where only those awaiting execution live. I really want to visit the prisoners there. Inshallah I will go there one day. If I get permission from the prison administration, I would like to give a seminar to all prisoners and share this message:

“Do not worry that you are sentenced to death and that you will definitely be executed". Not only you, but all the people on this planet earth, even all living beings, are sentenced to death. None of them can escape execution. The difference between them is the execution time of the death sentence. Every day, approximately 250 thousand people are executed. The number of people executed in the open-air prison outside is many times higher than in your closed prison.”

T: Interesting approach!

F: Honestly, I don't find it interesting at all. I think it's a very realistic and rational approach… Since every living creature that comes to earth tastes absolute death, everyone comes to this world prison as a death row prisoner. All who come, without exception, are taken to the gallows. First of all, everyone should know this simple and absolute truth… If I have the opportunity, I would like to remind all people that they are "death row prisoners".

T: You are right, the world is like a death row. However, unlike the actual death row prisoners, our execution date is unclear.

F: When we reach a certain age, we are almost no different from real death row inmates. If you don't mind, will you tell me how old you are?

T: I’m 57.

F: In a few years, you'll be practically the same as the death row inmates in Gainesville.

The execution of those on death row in Florida takes an average of 13 years. Some of them have been waiting for execution for 30 years. [4] The average life expectancy for the USA is 77 years. According to the latest data, the world average is 66 years. In this sense, it can be said that there is no difference between the probability of execution of a person over the age of 50 and the possibility of execution of a person waiting for his execution in Gainesville.

Do not think that we send you to death and we will stay in the world forever. In fact, the situation of relatively young people like us is not that different. We are also sentenced to death. However, our execution may possibly be later than yours. Even this is not guaranteed. Thousands of young people are executed in surprise every day.

T: I accept mentally that the world is a death row prison. But what is going to change if we think like that?

F: In my opinion, it will change a lot for us. Our priorities will be different. The biggest issue of those currently on trial is to overturn the death sentence given to them. If a prisoner who is judged by death penalty does not hire a good lawyer although he has the opportunity and does not try to win the case by following the advice of his lawyer, he is probably insane.

In this sense, prophets and their supporters are like lawyers sent to save humanity from eternal execution. And they're lawyers who don't want any fees. Our duty is to give these lawyers our power of attorney and to follow exactly what they suggest to us in order to win the case. 

T: But there are two problems here. First of all, there is not a single lawyer coming to us to save us from death; there are hundreds of lawyers. And each of them claims, "If you retain me, I'll win the case." What are you going to do? Which one will you go to?

F: There are ways of doing it. You can look at two criteria and preselect them. 

First: Check the lawyers with the most number of case files. Because lawyers who are mostly preferred by those on death row like you are more likely to win the case.

Second:  You examine whether people are satisfied with their lawyers. That is, you examine the rate at which people dislike the lawyers they hire and switch to another lawyer. In this way, after doing the preselection, you carefully examine the first few lawyers on your list and choose one of them. However, if the first lawyer you hired disappoints you, it is not reasonable to say, "I will not hire a lawyer, they are useless" and stand around and wait for your execution. As a rational person who knows for sure that you will be executed, you should search and try all the lawyers one by one if necessary and try to win the case because it's not a simple case. You're being tried in the biggest case: execution. There's nothing more important to you than winning this case. [5]

T: According to the criteria you say, everyone should first try Christianity because Christianity is the religion that has the most members in the world.

F: Christianity has a history of over 2 thousand years. For this reason, it is a religion that has the most members in total. However, although Islam emerged six centuries later, it follows Christianity very closely. If you calculate the members of the religions per unit of time, you will see that Islam ranks first. So, if you calculate the average number of members per year instead of the total number of members until now, you will see that Islam is the first religion even numerically. It is normal that a lawyer who started to work as a lawyer much later has fewer case files at the beginning compared to those who started years ago. What matters is the increasing trend in the case files of the two. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today. [6] If you take into account the second criterion, you will see that there are hundreds of thousands of people from all religions who are converted to Islam, but there are almost no true Muslims who converted to other religions.

T: I think you ignore an important point. Rather than looking at which lawyer has how many clients, we need to look at how many cases they have won. In that sense, we can say that no lawyer has ever won a single case. Because no one has survived from execution so far. Both those who hire a lawyer and those who do not hire a lawyer have died and will die. Under these circumstances, hiring a lawyer is nothing more than self-deception. 

F: It's important what you understand from winning the case… Death means leaving this world. And the world, as I said before, is a prison for people sentenced to death. If you perceive winning the case as living in this prison forever, you're wrong. The aim of the lawyers is not to turn the execution into life, but to save us from this prison and lead us to eternal happiness.

Yes, everyone comes out from this prison using the gallows as a door. There is no door to get out of this prison except the "death" door. The whole point is what will happen after we get out of this prison.

Over a hundred thousand prophets, especially Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), like the suns and stars of the sky of humanity, who never lied in their lives and proved their truth with the miracles they showed, said that they had seen the realms of the hereafter and brought us good news from the owner of those realms. Millions of people with truthful words and good faith, whom we call awliya and asfiya, who follow the path opened by the prophets, confirm that there are palaces of permanent happiness and dungeons awaiting us after death. They verify what prophets said with their discoveries, miraculous deeds and steadfastness in faith. [7]

T: In a sense, I'm doing what you say. Until my university years, I hired Christianity as a lawyer. I believed it would save me from execution. But then, I realized that I had consoled myself with this lawyer. I dismissed my lawyer. However, my search for a lawyer continues. Studying Islam, meeting with you for months, are the parts of this quest. I'm not looking for solace, I'm really looking for a lawyer to get rid of eternal execution.

F: Honestly, you're doing the smartest thing. That's what suits a smart and honest person like you. I believe that you will understand Islam is the lawyer who will comfort you and save you and your beloved ones from eternal execution.

I would like to draw your attention to something here. When looking for a lawyer, instead of approaching negatively and trying to prove the useless lawyer, I advise you to approach positively and say, "Could this be the lawyer I am looking for?" That approach will make it easier for you. Honestly, when I try to explain that Islam is the lawyer you are looking for, I feel as if some of your persistent reactions stem from the disappointment of your first lawyer. 

T: You are right. My confidence in all lawyers was shaken when I realized that my first lawyer could not help me. But, unlike many of my atheist friends, even though they ridicule me for it, my search for a lawyer continues with hope.

F: I congratulate you for this determination.

Now let me move on to the other question I asked when starting today's conversation. I wonder how an atheist can enjoy life. Honestly, sometimes I think that, for an atheist, suicide seems like a smarter choice than living. Of course, I can be wrong. I wonder what prevents an atheist from committing suicide and connects him to life?

T: I guess you think all atheists should commit suicide. What makes you think like that?

F: Actually, I don't mean exactly that. If there is no belief in Allah and the hereafter, it seems that living has no purpose and has no taste. Let me explain what I mean with an example.

Let's suppose you are traveling on an airplane. Immediately after the flight attendants handed out delicious food and drinks, a group of armed men took control of the plane and chained you all to your seats. You have neither the ability to move nor the possibility of resistance. Then, they gave you two options. They said we will kill you all in 60 minutes. If you want, we can kill you all at once without touching any food and drinks. The other option is, you can start eating, and we'll randomly shoot each of you in 60 minutes.

As a person who knows for sure that you will be killed, which option would you choose in such a situation? To die immediately without touching the food? Or start eating with the logic of “the more I eat, the better” and get killed in 60 minutes? Can you really taste the food if you prefer the latter?

T: First of all, I would get rid of my chains and try to resist the men together with those next to me. I would rather die while struggling than give up. 

F: We made this option impossible because the attackers tied you and everybody to the seat with very strong chains; it is not possible to break those chains. 

T: As a matter of fact, this is a very difficult situation… Let me tell you that people always have a desire to live a little longer. I'd probably prefer to live a little longer, too. I would think that there is hope of getting out somehow. I think it's a feeling that exists in human nature.

I want to give an example of my daughter. My daughter is an atheist, just like me. But she has great confidence in science. She hopes that she will find a solution to aging in the future. That's why she wants to freeze her body when she dies. It will cost 100 thousand dollars. She asked us for help. We said we wouldn't help. She decided to buy this service on her own. My daughter believes that in the future, scientists will be able to restore her frozen body. Although I'm not so hopeful, I can't find anything to object to it. Because human nature wants to live eternally. Even if there is a slight possibility, people want to try their luck. 

F: Very interesting! I was very surprised when I first read about those who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in the media to freeze their bodies. I also perceived this as a sign of the desire for eternity in human nature, just like you.

Will your daughter just freeze her head or her whole body? How long will they keep his body in the freezer?

T: She will freeze her whole body. If she just freezes her head, it will cost 60 thousand dollars. By depositing a hundred thousand dollars in a bank, they can cover the cost of freezing for centuries with interest on the money. I could not understand why you were so surprised. Religious people do almost the same thing. Maybe you do it a little cheaper, but you also spend money for religious purposes. In other words, there is no difference between spending on mosques and spending on a body freezing company. After all, both are to make the corpse eternal.

F: You confuse Islam with Christianity. You cannot buy Paradise with money in Islam. In fact, it can be said that the poor people are more likely to win Paradise in Islam. The price that every believer has to pay in order to attain eternity is five daily prayers equivalent to one hour of his daily life. If you look at it in terms of opportunity cost and calculate the monetary value of the time spent on daily worship, it may be equivalent to the amount your daughter will pay. However, for a believer, daily worship is spiritual nutrition to the body just like water and food. Instead of regarding the time we spend for eating as an economic loss, as we see it necessary to work efficiently, worshiping is not an economic loss; it turns into economic gain by increasing productivity by making us mentally healthy and strong. [8]

There is another very important difference between your daughter and a believer. Believers invest for eternal bliss based on the revelation that Allah, who has unlimited power and mercy and who does not break His word whatsoever, gave to Muhammad (pbuh). Both the miracles of the prophets and the miracles of the Quran and all the prophets, awliya and asfiya confirm the accuracy of this revelation.

On the other hand, your daughter chooses an option that even NO scientist guarantees that it will work in the future. While those who try to make money from the freezing method base their promises on science, scientists insist that this job has nothing to do with science.

Moreover, experts on the subject say that the freezing method will not work because frozen cells die as they thaw. Besides, there is no scientist who promises that a dead body can be resurrected.

T: Anyway ... Let's continue our main subject if you want. Where were we?

F: We were talking about why atheists choose between suicide and life. Socrates says, “The unexamined life is not worth living". In this sense, when we contemplate on life, we see that our life basically passes in the cycle of kitchen, bedroom and toilet. It doesn't matter how many cycles we do. Sooner or later, we'll go into the grave. If the grave is nonexistence, for what reason should an atheist choose life over death? After all, he or she will fall into the grave; so, does he need to wait? [9]

T: I am a humanist. I want to do something for humanity, not just for myself. My daughter and the next generation will benefit from what I have done. I accept the inevitable end. However, I will consider myself successful to the extent that I contribute to people living in peace and tranquility in this world through what I do. 

F: Actually, I have very bad news for you. There's an executioner called “time”, which seems to be a big obstacle to your success. It grinds everything you do between its wheels and sends them to nonexistence. Nothing can escape from the clutches of the beast called time.

Your situation is similar to this example: A man goes through a lot of hardships every day, digs the earth and extracts diamond from there. He wants both himself and others to benefit. However, every diamond he pulls out is grabbed by an executioner named "time" and throws it into the void of nonexistence. Does a man like that have any desire to work after that? More precisely, does it make sense to work? Why would he bother to extract diamonds if all the diamonds he pulled out and himself would eventually be thrown into the void of nonexistence?

Likewise, all of the diamonds that you have extracted from the treasure of life with good intentions and with great effort will be thrown into the void of nonexistence. So, why are you working?

T: It doesn't disappear right away. It is used for a while.

F: The final result matters … It doesn't matter if it is thrown into absence three days before or after. In my opinion, humanistic thinking cannot save an atheist from suicide.

You just said you were 57 years old. Don't think that you have 57 years to live. Your 57 years are GONE. Don't hope to have another 20-30 years of life because the future DOES NOT EXIST now. Your real life is just a "moment" that passes between the two nonexistent things… That "moment" also disappears every moment. So, do you have any reason to live the next "moment"? [10]

T: I admit that my real life is just a moment. However, I do not completely ignore the past. At least, it still lives partly in my and other people's memories.

F: Remember that both you and your memory are going to disappear between the wheels of time inevitably. I still don't understand why an atheist like you would prefer life to death.

Let me ask the same question again with another example. Let's suppose that someone kidnapped you and locked you in a hundred-storey apartment built in space. The kidnapper said that he would throw you through the window of the apartment into the outer space. In the meantime, he brought your favorite chocolates. He gave you two choices:

First one is being immediately thrown into outer space on the first floor without eating any chocolate… And the other one is, throwing into the outer space on any floor while eating chocolate and climbing the stairs up to the hundredth floor. Which would do you prefer? Basically, is there a difference between the two options?

T: I ponder about happiness. If the total pain I anticipate is more than the tastes, I prefer death. However, if the two are equal or the expected tastes are more, I would prefer life. Anything we do in life has a result: it either gives taste or pain, or nothing happens.

In your example, walking up the stairs and eating and drinking the things you love have a taste. However, it also hurts to think that you have someone on your back at any moment to roll you into nonexistence. I don't know which one will be dominant. I think it's a very difficult situation … I probably wouldn't see a difference between the two options. In other words, the expected pain and taste would cancel each other out.

F: Then you have to decide by lot. I think there is no need for it. If you ask economists for help, you can easily solve the problem. Because this subject is a complete example of "utility analysis"… According to utility analysts, a person decides in a way to maximize his own benefit in life. It is preferred if the benefit of something is more than its harm or its taste is superior to its pain. In the previous example, the person compares the taste of eating chocolate with the pain of thinking that he will be killed. If the pain caused by the fear of being killed at any moment is less than the taste of chocolate, he prefers to eat chocolate. He should also take into account the “separation (loss) pain” of never eating chocolate again.

Interestingly, scientific studies have found that the “pain of losing” something is higher than the “taste of winning”.[11] For example, the pain of losing $ 1,000 is more than the taste of winning $ 1,000. I think in this case, for someone experiencing the situation in the example, the total pain will exceed the total taste. So, it would be wiser for such a person to choose to die right away...

If you don't see a difference, you have to decide by lot. But remember, even if you eat the chocolate, the taste you get will DISAPPEAR when you die. So, what's the difference? Either you died on the first floor or on the hundredth floor. There will be no benefit in choosing the hundredth floor. The result will not change in any way. So, all your tastes will disappear. You won't even remember those tastes, because you'll disappear, too.

T: Anyway… What do you want me to understand with the example you gave?

F: I am sure the truth expressed by the example is clear for a clever person like you. The situation of every person who is alive now is no different from that of the unfortunate man in the example. The apartment of life looks like a hundred-storey building. The “death executioner” waiting behind us is waiting for an opportunity to throw us into the void of nonexistence at any moment. In the end, none of us will get rid of this executioner. Without exception, we will all be thrown out of this earth apartment into the deep grave.

So, is there any logic in pursuing the tastes of life that are like chocolate in the example? Does a smart person waste his life on something that ends up with "nothing"? Will he be eager to work when he sees that everything is thrown into the well of absence? 

T: I don't object to what you say. However, because we do not feel the executioner of death on our back at all times, the tastes we expect from life outweigh. We can get a taste of life without thinking very much about death. Thinking with pure reason, for an atheist, there may not be that big difference between life and death. However, life is preferred to death when feelings are involved. How do you perceive life as a believer?

F: I think there are several different perceptions of life.

First one: Calendar life. In other words, the life we perceive with reference to a certain thing. When we take as reference to the world, the rotation of the world around itself is a one-day life. Its rotation around the sun is one year of life. This is true for someone who lives on the earth. Our 250 years in earth is just one year for someone living in Pluto. Based on our planet, we calculate the average calendar life of humans and decide whether their lifespan is long or short.

Second one: Imaginary life. In other words, it is an almost infinitely wide imaginary life including everyone's past memories and future dreams. In fact, most people do not realize the shortness of life because they live in "imaginary life" rather than calendar life. They spend their lives for useless things and waste them as if they have eternal lives. They passes away without finding time for what they really need to care about.

Third one: True life. In other words, it is the "moment" the person is in. In fact, the real life of every person is just the "moment" he/she is in because all of the past time is gone now. And there's no guarantee that we'll get a split second of the future. Therefore, the only time for us is the "moment" we are in. [12] Just like a bankrupt who lost all his wealth in gambling and only has one dollar left… As in  the example, the only wealth we have is the last moment we have.

Fourth one: The other is spiritual life. In other words, by believing in Allah, the life of a person is no longer limited only to the short life of this world; it starts with the creation of spirits and turns into a life continuing to eternity. [13] In short, if anyone who finds Allah and believes in Him lives even for a second, he actually has an eternal life. Those who do not know Allah have actually lived for a second even if they live for a thousand years because man attains an eternal life through belief. The long or short life of this world does not matter much. [14] Indeed, belief connects man with Allah, who is eternal. Belief brings the love of Allah to us. Allah, who is eternal and omnipotent, makes the people who love him and who become a mirror to His great names eternal. [15]

T: I think you are consoling yourself thinking that you will have an eternal life. That is all…

F: I'm not consoling myself. Since, by the indication of almost infinite evidencess, there is a Creator with infinite power, infinite knowledge, infinite mercy, and of course there is the hereafter, too because it is infinitely easy for Him to create the hereafter, just as we are infinitely needy and desire for the existence of the hereafter. And Allah has promised the hereafter with a thousand messengers, and of course He will do it.

Resurrection is a deep subject. One third of the Quran is directly or indirectly related to resurrection. Therefore, I believe that there is an afterlife based on a thousand verses in both book of the universe and the Holy Quran... On the other hand, you decide on your own assumption that there is no hereafter, based on no evidence.[16]

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[1] Thomas honestly confessed the desire for eternity in human nature. Badiuzzaman explains the desire for eternity that exists in us as follows:

“Included in human nature is an intense love of immortality. Even, because of his power of imagination, man fancies a sort of immortality in everything he loves. He cries out from the depths of his being whenever he thinks of or sees their passing. All lamentations at separation are expressions of the weeping caused by love of immortality. If there were no imagined immortality, there would be no love. It might even be said that the intense desire for immortality arising from that passionate love of immortality, and from the spontaneous general prayer for immortality, is a reason for the existence of the eternal realm and everlasting Paradise. The Eternal One of Glory accepted man’s intense, unshakeable, innate desire and his powerful, effective, general prayer, for He created an eternal realm for him, a transient being.” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursî, The Flashes, The Third Flash, Second Point)

[2] Badiuzzaman describes this truth as follows:

“Similarly, significant members and valuable programmes have been deposited in man’s nature by Divine power and determining. If man uses those immaterial members on the desires of his soul and on minor pleasures under the soil of worldly life in the narrow confines of this earthly world, he will decay and decompose in the midst of difficulties in a brief life in a constricted place like the rotted seed, and load the responsibility on his unfortunate spirit, then depart from this world. If, however, he nurtures the seed of his abilities with the water of Islam and light of belief under the soil of worship and servitude to God, conforms to the commands of the Qur’an, and turns his faculties towards their true aims, they will produce branches and buds in the World of Similitudes and the Intermediate Realm; he will be a seed of great value and a shining machine containing the members of an everlasting tree and permanent truth which will be the means to innumerable perfections and bounties in Paradise. And he will be a blessed and luminous fruit of the tree of the universe.” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Words, The Twenty-Third Word, Second Chapter, Second Remark)

[3] Badiuzzaman states that the human soul moves like an ostrich and puts its head in the sand of heedlessness in order not to see the death hunter waiting to hunt him:

“O my wretched soul sunk in heedlessness, which sees this life as sweet, has forgotten the hereafter, and seeks only this world! Do you know what you resemble? An ostrich! It sees the hunter, but cannot fly, so sticks it head in the sand so the hunter will not see it. Its bulky body remains in the open, and the hunter sees it. Only, its eyes are closed in the sand and it cannot see him. O my soul, consider the following comparison, and see it!” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Words, Fourteenth Word, Conclusion)

[4] You can find official statistics on death row inmates in Florida at this site: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/

[5] During the Second World War, while people followed what was happening on their radios hourly, Badiuzzaman Said Nursi never followed the news of the war and did not wonder and ask others. His students, who observed his indifference to World War II for seven years, curiously asked why he was not interested in the greatest war in human history, which led to the death of millions of people. They received the following meaningful answer:

“Yes, an event more momentous than this World War and a case more important than that of world supremacy has been opened over the heads of everyone and especially Muslims, so that if everyone had the wealth and power of the Germans and English and sense as well, they would unhesitatingly spend all of it to win that single case…

The case is this: relying on the thousands of promises and pledges of the universe’s Owner, Who has disposal over it, hundreds of thousands of the most eminent of mankind, and uncounted numbers of its stars and guides, have unanimously given news —and some of them have actually seen— that for everyone the case has opened by which they may either win, in return for belief, or lose, eternal properties as broad as the earth set with palaces and gardens. If they do not secure the document of belief, they will lose. And this age, many are losing the case because of the plague of materialism. One of the diviners of reality and investigators of truth observed in one place that out of forty people who died, only a few won; the others lost. Can anything take the place of that lost suit, even rule over the whole world?” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Rays, The Eleventh Ray, The Fourth Topic)

[6] The reasons for the rise of Islam in the West, especially in the United States, can be found in our book "11 Eylül’e Rağmen Amerika’da Yükselen İslam ", published by Nesil publications.

[7] Badiuzzaman explains this truth very well in A Summary of the Second Topic from The Eleventh Ray. In fact, our lifestyle is shaped by whom we respect and trust for after death. Do we trust the prophets who tell us that there is heaven and hell after death, or the materialist and atheist philosophers who say that life is limited to this world?

[8] To be honest, I was not surprised by the daughter of Thomas, who spent the 100,000 dollars that she would earn by working a few extra hours a day for the realization of her hope of eternity, which is not possible even in a million or trillion chance. But I was surprised by my soul, which acts lazily related to prayers. “So is it that the prescribed prayers are without result, which in this guest-house of the world are sustenance and wealth for your impotent and weak heart, and in your grave, which will be a certain dwelling-place for you, sustenance and light, and at the Resurrection, when you will anyway be judged, a document and patent, and on the Bridge of Sirat, over which you are bound to pass, a light and a mount? Are their recompense little?” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Words, The Twenty-First Word, First Station, Fourth Warning)

[9] Badiuzzaman says that the divine books that bring the message that there is life after death, such as the Qur’an, are a mercy even for atheists and save them from suicide:

“When like the ostrich the unbeliever looks on death and decline as extinction, his scepticism makes him consider possible the certain tidings of the Qur’an and revealed scriptures concerning belief in the hereafter afford him a possibility. He grasps the possibility and does not suffer that ghastly pain... Thus, the All-Wise Qur’an produces a sort of manifestation of mercy for the unbelievers too that to an extent saves their lives in this world from being Hell; it induces doubt in them, so they live through doubt. Otherwise, by recalling the Hell of the hereafter they would have suffered the torments of a sort of Hell in this world too, and they would have been compelled to commit suicide.” (Badiüzzaman Said Nursi, The Flashes, The Thirteenth Flash, Eighth Indication)

[10] “O my soul! If you long for the life of this world and flee death, know certainly that the conditions you suppose to be life are only the minute in which you are. All the time previous to the present minute and the things of the world within that time are dead in the present minute. And all the time subsequent to the present minute and all it contains are non-existent in it, and nothing. That means the physical life on which you rely is only one minute. Some of the learned, even, said it was a tenth of a minute, rather, the passing instant. It is due to this mystery that certain saints stated that with regard to this world, this world is non-existent.” (Badiüzzaman Said Nursi, The Words, The Twenty-Sixth Word, Conclusion)

[11] Brett N. Steenbarger, Enhancing Trader Performance: Proven Strategies From the Cutting Edge of Trading Psychology, Wiley Trading, 2006.

[12] “O my soul! Know that yesterday has left you, and as for tomorrow, you have nothing to prove that it will be yours. In which case, know that your true life is the present day.” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Words, The Twenty-First Word, First Station, Fifth Warning)

[13] Badiuzzaman, after the First World War, was freed from Russian captivity and came to Istanbul; life's troubles were replaced by tastes. His earthly affairs went well. However, he thought about the nature of life and decided to voluntarily retreat from the world. Meanwhile, when some of his friends came and called him to worldly affairs, he asked them to give him some time. The next day, he recorded the truths that came to his heart as Two Tables. The first of these tables at the end of the Seventeenth Word describes the people who are heedless, and the second table describes the people who are on guidance. Badiuzzaman says " All the beings in existence, I saw were ephemeral, harmful" on the First Table. On the Second Table he says, " See, eternity is pure life."

[14] Badiuzzaman expresses this truth as follows:

“Yes, one second on the way of love, knowledge, and pleasure of the Truly Enduring One is like a year, otherwise a year is a second. A single second, even, on His way is immortal and many years. A hundred years of the people of neglect looking to this world are like a single second.” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Flashes, The Third Flash, Third Point)

[15] In Badiuzzaman's words, “For everything turned to that Eternal One receives the manifestation of immortality.”

The widening of time when Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) enters the presence of Almighty Allah, is a proof for this: “...The expansion of time, a tried principle among the people of sainthood and reality, also alludes to this truth. For through its mystery, a few minutes’ Ascension become many years and prove the existence of this truth and demonstrate it in fact. The few hours of the Prophet’s (PBUH) Ascension had the length, breadth, and comprehensiveness of thousands of years, for by way of it he entered the world of eternity, and a few minutes of that world comprise thousands of years of this world.” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Flashes, The Third Flash, Third Point)

[16] The Qur'an states that those who deny the hereafter, such as Thomas, are based on assumptions: “And they say: ‘What is there but our life in this world? We shall die and we live, and nothing but time can destroy us.’ But of that they have no knowledge: they merely conjecture.” (Surah Al-Jathiya, 45:24)

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