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Man and His Existence, Function, and Aim in Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's Thought Today with God's help

I shall discuss the place of man in Said Nursi's thought, and his existence, function, and aims. This is an extensive subject that can be examined in various ways. I shall mentioned some of them briefly, quoting many passages from his works, for they reflect his ideas accurately. Man and His Existence, Function, and Aim in Bediuzzaman Said Nursi's Thought Faruq Hamada All praise be to the One Who illumined existence with His Book and Guidance, wherein His servants bow and prostrate, and blessings and peace be upon Muhammad Ibn "Abdullah, His messenger and servant, and his family and companions. Imam Said Nursi was one of the prominent Islamic thinkers in the 14th century of the Hijra concerned with the Qur'an. He opened up a new way in the Islamic cause and dispelled with the Qur'an's unique light the massing darkness and gloom. He offered to those around him and those who came after him a broad Qur'anic path, apt in its guidances. May God reward him proportionately to his service to Islam and the Muslims and grant him a lofty place among the Sublime Assembly. To speak of this unique Imam, one has to have knowledge of many fields and a broad vision. Thinkers and scholars, specialists in the Qur'an and Sunna, and those who have taken it on themselves to combat ignorance and misguidance should dwell at length on his writings and study over and over again his brilliant ideas and his theories about the universe, life, and man. For they will extract from them a world not much different to the world he lived in. He treated its ills with the greatest wisdom, skill, and solicitude. Its wounds had become deep and serious indeed. How needy was mankind for the balm of the Qur'an and its dominical remedies to bind its wounded spirit, soul, body, and society! Imam Nursi offered salves and medicaments from the pharmacy of the Qur'an, well-equipped and ready for easy use. Today with God's help I shall discuss the place of man in Said Nursi's thought, and his existence, function, and aims. This is an extensive subject that can be examined in various ways. I shall mentioned some of them briefly, quoting many passages from his works, for they reflect his ideas accurately. 1. In many places in his writings, Imam Nursi proclaims that his task was nothing more than to be herald of the jeweller's shop of the Qur'an, calling the people to the gems on offer to customers so that they might profit from them and attain their intended aims. In this way he is announcing that the field of his work is man, wherever he is, and whatever his colour, religion, or origin. He says:

"As herald of the elevated treasury of the All-Wise Qur'an, I have a temporary personality that pertains solely to the Qur'an."1 In another place he says: "Like a bankrupt may proclaim the precious diamonds of a jeweller's shop, I announce the wares of a sacred, Qur'anic, shop."2 He says too: "We are mere bankrupts, yet we are the servants and heralds of a treasury of precious jewels."3 And: "I am not the owner of these treatises of Light; I am only a weak and simple herald of the jeweller's shop of the Qur'an."4 Said Nursi took the greatest pride in this duty of his, and considered it to be the highest honour. The market of the Qur'an and its shop of jewels is this broad universe and all its hidden beings and artefacts and things; the lowlands and seas, the mountains and trees, the earth and the skies, the hanging stars, and the flowers and fruits. Imam Nursi ties these jewels bearing the impress of divine power, wisdom, and art, to the written, recited Qur'an; he shows that the written Qur'an and the observed Qur'an are in agreement. So everyone with insight is certain that the one who revealed the written Qur'an and the one who created and brought into existence the observed Qur'an are one and the same. Both are jewels indicating their Maker, the Wise, the All-Knowing. Said Nursi says: "The earth, the face of which is an exhibition of marvels of art, a display of wonders of creation, a place of passage for the caravans of beings, and a mosque and dwelling for the ranks of worshippers, is like the heart of all the universe; it thus displays the light of divine unity to the same degree as the universe."5 2. In observing the worlds of the universe, Said Nursi says they are undergoing constant change, revolving within life and death. Within these "Man is helpless and exposed to numerous misfortunes. He is indigent, and his needs are numerous. He is weak, and the burden of his life is most heavy."6 He says too: "By nature man is extremely weak, yet everything touches him, and saddens and grieves him. Also he is utterly lacking in power, yet the calamities and enemies that afflict him are extremely numerous. Also he is extremely wanting, yet his needs are indeed many. Also he is lazy and incapable, yet life's responsibilities are most burdensome. Also his humanity has connected him to the rest of the universe, yet the decline and disappearance of the things he loves and with which he is familiar continually pains him. Also his reason shows him exalted aims and lasting fruits, yet his hand is short, his life brief, his power slight, and his patience little."7 However, Almighty God has given this weak, impotent, faulty creature an abundance of faculties, making him superior to other beings. If he obeys his Lord and Sustainer, he rises to the highest degree and proximity to Him. He is the finest fruit of the world, and the most

comprehensive of the Wise Creator's miracles, for he is a miniature sample of the whole universe. Said Nursi says: "Man is the fruit of the tree of creation, its furthest part. It is well-known that the fruit of something is its most distant, most comprehensive, most delicate, and most important part. Therefore, since man, who is the fruit of the universe, is a most comprehensive, most wonderful, most powerless, most weak, and most subtle miracle of power..."8 As Ustad Nursi sees it, man is the index of the universe, and a comprehensive copy of all in existence through his senses, for through them Almighty God makes him perceive the manifestations of His names: "Man is a missive so comprehensive that through his self, Almighty God makes perceived to him all His names."9 By virtue of all the senses and faculties bestowed on him by divine mercy, man is superior to all other creatures and is the lord of the universe. "... each of the immaterial members and subtle faculties in man have expanded to a degree a hundred times greater than that of the animals. For example, consider faculties and members like man's eyes, which can discern all the degrees of beauty, and his sense of taste, which can distinguish all the varieties of the particular tastes of foods, and his mind, which can penetrate to all the subtlest points of reality, and his heart, which yearns for every sort of perfection, and then consider the extremely simple members of the animals which have developed only one or two degrees. There is just this difference, that in animals a member particular to some function and special to a particular species develops more. But this development is particular. "The reason for man's wealth in regard to faculties is this: by reason of the mind and thought, man's senses and feelings have greatly developed and expanded. (...) And since he has been created with a nature capable of performing every sort of worship, he has been given abilities which embrace the seeds of all perfections.10 Thus, in Said Nursi's view, man has been bestowed with all this wealth, and he holds the key to the riddle of the universe, which will open the hidden treasuries of the universe's Creator. This is a rank not reached by any creature, even the highest angels, who never neglect their duties or tasks. He says: "The key to the world is in the hand of man and is attached to his self. For while being apparently open, the doors of the universe are in fact closed. God Almighty has given to man by way of a Trust, such a key, called the "I', that it opens all the doors of the world; He has given him an enigmatic "I' with which he may discover the hidden treasures of the Creator of the universe."11 Almighty God has subjugated the universe to man to utilize as he wishes, yet he is a humble worshipper within it. Man is thus an imposing lord, yet he is weak and powerless. He has been honoured and ennobled, yet he is faulty and his physical being is lowly. Ustad Nursi says concerning this:

"Yes, O man! In regard to your vegetable physical being and animal soul, you are a deaf particle, a contemptible atom, a needy creature, a weak animal, who, tossed on the awesome waves of the flood of beings, is departing. But being perfected through the light of belief, which comprises the radiance of Divine love, and through the training of Islam, which is enlightened, in regard to humanity and servitude to God, you are a king, and a universal within particularity, and within your insignificance, a world, and within your contemptibility, a supervisor of such high rank and extensive sphere that you can say: "My Compassionate Sustainer has made the world a house for me, the sun and moon lamps for it, and the spring, a bunch of flowers for me, and summer, a table of bounties, and the animals, He has made my servants. And He has made plants the decorated furnishings of my house.'"12 According to Said Nursi, the universe is a vast table laden with bounties, material and nonmaterial, which man may enjoy. By virtue of his humanity, he rules over all the diverse aspects of the earth and all around him, for he is the fruit of creation and displays the precious arts of the Wise Creator. He is thus watched in amazement by the inhabitants of the heavens. Said Nursi said: "... man, who rules over the earth, which is thus, has disposal over most creatures, and subjects most living beings gathering them around himself; and so orders, displays, and gathers each remarkable species together in one place like a list, adorning them, that he attracts not only the attention and admiration of men and jinn, but of the dwellers of the heavens and the universe, and the appreciative gaze of the universe's Owner, thus gaining great importance and high worth; and who shows through his sciences and arts that he is the purpose of the universe's creation, and its most important result, and most precious fruit, and the Divine vicegerent on earth ..."13 "In addition to [life] allowing the universe to be situated in a tiny animate creature and its making the creature a sort of index of the huge universe, it is a mmost extraordinary miracle of divine power that connects the animate creature to most beings and makes its a tiny universe."14 With his usual profundity, Ustad Nursi explains why in the Qur'an the earth is held equal to the all the heavens: "... since man, who is the fruit of the universe, is a most comprehensive, most wonderful, most powerless, most weak, and most subtle miracle of power, the earth, which is his cradle and dwelling-place, is the heart and centre of the whole universe as regards meaning and art, despite being physically small and insignificant in relation to the heavens; it is the exposition and exhibition-place of all the miracles of art; and the display and point of focus of all the manifestations of the Divine Names; the place of assembly and reflection of unending dominical activity; the means and market of boundless Divine creativity, whose liberality is especially evident in the numerous small species of plants and animals; the place, in a small measure, of samples of the artefacts to be found in the truly vast worlds of the hereafter; the speedily operating workshop for eternal textiles; the fast-changing place of imitation of everlasting panoramas; the narrow, temporary field and tillage rapidly raising the seeds for never-ending gardens.

"Thus, it is because of this immaterial greatness of the earth, and its importance in regard to art, that the All-Wise Qur'an puts it on a par with the heavens, although it is like a tiny fruit of a huge tree. It places it in one pan of a pair of scales and the whole of the rest of the universe in the other. It repeatedly says, Sustainer of the Heavens and the Earth."15 He says too: "... like holding a tiny heart equivalent to a huge body."16 This is indeed man, is it not? And doesn't Imam Nursi describe his position in the universe correctly, with the highest eloquence? Advances in science and knowledge, discoveries of the earth's secrets and the depths of space, none of these will ever penetrate to this truth, extracted from the jewels of the Qur'an! 3. Could it be that man who is thus created on the best of patterns and has been honoured and ennobled should not have a function and purpose in this worldly journey of his? Or did he come here for nothing and will he depart to nothing? "Did you then think that we had created you in jest, and that you would not be brought back to Us [for account]?"17 Imam Nursi expounds man's function like this: "Man has been sent to this world as an official and guest, and has been given abilities of great significance. And he has been entrusted with important duties in accordance with those abilities. In order to employ man in fulfilling those aims and duties, powerful encouragement and severe threats have been made."18 Man was created to worship and serve Almighty God, after he has gained knowledge of Him, and the knowledge of God is the matter of greatest importance in man's life. Imam Nursi therefore dedicated his life to illuminating the misguided about this truth, and refuting their way, and putting forward proofs and explanations of its certainty taken from the physical world so that reasonable people could no longer doubt it. "The Risale-i Nur is not only repairing some minor damage or some small house; it is repairing vast damage and the all-embracing citadel which contains the citadel of Islam, the stones of which are the size of mountains. (...) It is striving to cure with the medicines of the Qur'an and belief the Qur'an's miraculousness the collective heart and generally-held ideas..."19 Ustad Nursi provides brilliant proofs and arguments of the questions of belief and knowledge of God so numerous it is difficult to count them. And he directs the attention of the heedless to the universe in order to lead them to this knowledge. For in that time of spiritual darkness, which still continues, they denied the realms beyond human perception and believed only in materiality and tangible things. So look now at the method employed in the Twentieth Window in the Thirty-Third Word, how it expounds the following verses: "So glory be to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things.20 * And there is nothing but its treasuries are with Us; but We only send it down in a measure defined. * And We send forth the winds to fertilize [the plants], and We send down rain from the skies providing you with water therewith, and you are not the keepers of its stores.21

(...) "Now consider the winds! According to the testimony of their other wise, generous benefits and duties, they are hastening to extremely numerous and important tasks... "Now consider the springs, the streams, and the rivers! Their welling-up out of the ground and out of mountains is not by chance... "Now consider all the varieties of stones and jewels and minerals in the earth! Their decorations and beneficial properties... "Now consider the flowers and fruits! Their smiles, tastes, beauties, embroideries, and scents are all like invitations... "Now consider the birds!... "Now consider the clouds!... "Now look at the sky and consider carefully only the moon out of all the innumerable bodies within it! That its motion is at the command of an All-Powerful and Wise One is demonstrated by the important instances of wisdom connected to it and concerning the earth... "Thus, the universal elements we have enumerated from light to the moon open in large measure a truly extensive window. They proclaim and show the uunity of a Necessarily Existent One, and the perfection of His power, and grandeur of His sovereignty."22 Said Nursi says too: "O heedless one! Look at the face of the universe! See the pages of beings one within the other like letters of the Eternally Besought One, each letter stamped with innumerable seals of Divine unity! Who can deny the testimony of all these seals?"23 A matter of tremendous importance is that when Said Nursi puts forward proofs based on tangible physical beings, he relates these to the wisdom of their existence, and the works of art they comprise, and their precise, well-founded places in the universe. They serve man and assist life, for if they opposed it, they would spoil the order and beings would cease to exist. They all lack the power to govern life or change it; they only submit and are passive. Ustad Nursi explains that in the fall of Adam to the earth and his being a guest here are significant instances of wisdom and aims: "The wisdom of it concerns the charging of duties; Adam was sent charged with such a duty that the unfolding of all mankind's spiritual progress and the revealing of all mankind's potentialities and man's essential nature being a comprehensive mirror to all the Divine Names, are the results of it."24 In another place, Ustad Nursi describes this duty in greater detail, making it threefold:

"His First Duty: All the varieties of bounties dispersed throughout the universe are put into order through man. All those things beneficial to man are strung like prayer-beads on a string and the ends of the strings of those bounties tied to man's head. Man is thus made a list of all the varieties of the treasuries of mercy. "His Second Duty: By reason of his comprehensiveness, this is for man to be the most perfect addressee of the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One; through appreciating and admiring His astonishing arts, to be His loudest herald; and through offering every kind of conscious thanks, to give praise, glory, and thanks for all the varieties of His bounties and the limitless different sorts of His gifts. [That is, "the dominical colouring in man's essential nature has opened the flower of divine address."25] "His Third Duty: Through his life, it is to act as a mirror to the Ever-Living and SelfSubsistent One and His qualities and all-embracing attributes in three respects."26 Love has sprung up in the human heart and attachment to the Eternally Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One, the Glorious One of Perfection. This love fills man with the desire to worship Him, and to submit to Him, the Owner of the heavens and the earth. Thanks, love, and praise are the fruits of life and the aim of the universe. 4. The Qur'an informs us of man's duty with the verse: "I created not jinn and men except that they might worship."27 Ustad Nursi explains worship together with its various sorts, and means, and results, and aims. He says: "In the face of manifestations of dominicality, the elevated purpose of the universe is man's universal worship and submission to God, while his furthest aim is to attain to that worship by means of those sciences and perfections."28 Ustad Nursi states that worship has two sides to it: "One is worship and contemplation in the absence of the Object of Worship. The other is worship and supplication in His presence and addressing Him directly. "First Aspect: It is to affirm submissively the sovereignty of dominicality apparent in the universe and to observe its perfections and virtues in wonder. "Then it is to proclaim and herald the unique arts which consist of the inscriptions of the Sacred Divine Names and to display them to others. "Then it is to weigh on the scales of perception the jewels of the dominical Names, which are all like hidden treasures; it is to appreciatively affirm their value with the discerning heart. (...) "Second Aspect: This is the station of presence and address wherein man passes from the work to the producer of the work and he sees that an All-Beauteous Maker wants to make

himself known and acquainted through the miracles of His own art, and he responds with knowledge and belief. "Then he sees that an All-Compassionate Sustainer wants to make himself loved through the fine fruits of His mercy. So through confining his love and worship to Him, he makes himself love Him..."29 Ustad Nursi wrote the above and spread these ideas to elucidate materialist science at a time it was developing rapidly. For he wanted to alert all the rightly-guided to the fact that all its discoveries with all their aspects indicated God Almighty, the All-Wise, and testified to His unity and power. So whoever benefits from this and is guided to the divine attributes by means of the sciences is included among the first sort of worship. And whoever submits in obedience, love, and compliance is included among the second sort. His contemplative worship is perfected in this way, imbued with knowledge of God, and he becomes a servant of God fully, with his inner self and his outer self. When Said Nursi wrote the following he was putting forward highly important ideas about man taken from the Qur'an and Sunna: "Know that just as reflective thought is a light that melts frozen, lifeless heedlessness; so attention is fire that burns up withered, darksome delusions. So when you reflect on your self, do so painstakingly and slowly, immerse yourself and penetrate to the details, as is necessitated by the divine name of Inward. But when you ponder over the outside world, as necessitated by the name of Outward, do so summarily and quickly. Do not go into details except when there is nneed to elucidate the rule. For [here] the art is more splendid, clear, and beautiful."30 In many of his writings, Said Nursi stresses that knowledge of God arising from belief leads to true worship and affords man an insuperable strength by which he can challenge the whole universe: "Belief is both light and strength. Yes, one who acquires true belief may challenge the whole universe and be saved from the pressure of events in accordance with the strength of his belief. Saying, "I place my trust in God,' he travels through the mountainous waves of events in the ship of life in complete safety."31 Man's worship and servitude of God, through which he submits to Him, yields fruits in his life of the highest quality and opens up the choicest blossoms at all times, just when they are most needed. Nursi says: " ... the exalted reward for all the worship and glorification of God performed by your members and instruments will be given to you at the time of greatest need, in the form of the fruits of Paradise."32 The worship and servitude of God and all it entails is required of man, not so that he may receive reward or recompense for it, but because of all the bounties he has received, and the good things of his life and all around him. Said Nursi says:

"O soul! Worship is not the introduction to additional rewards, but the result of previous bounties. Yes, we have received our wage, and are accordingly charged with the duties of service and worship. Because, O soul!, since the All-Glorious Creator, Who clothed you in existence which is pure good, has given you a stomach and appetite, through His Name of Provider, He has placed before you all foods on a table of bounties. (...) Then, since He has given you Islam and belief, which require infinite bounties and are nourished through countless fruits of mercy and are supreme humanity, He has opened up before you a table of bounties, pleasure, and happiness which includes the sphere of contingency together with the sphere of His sacred Names and attributes. (...) "O soul! You have received this wage, and you are charged with the pleasurable, bountiful, easy, and light duty of worship. But you are lazy in this too. If you perform it half-heartedly, it is as though the former wages are insufficient for you and you are overbearingly wanting greater things."33 Here Nursi is expounding most beautifully the axiom of the Sunnis: "If Almighty God punishes His creatures it is justice, while if He puts them in Paradise, it is a pure favour." 5. According to Ustad Nursi, besides submission, supplication is a means of attaining to perfect worship. Almighty God enjoins it on His servants in many vverses in His Book, so that they may turn to Him. Indeed, as it says in a Hadith, "Supplication is the essence of worship." Supplication is therefore an expression of worship and a means of performing it. Ustad Nursi has discussed these in detail and elucidated them in many places in his writings. Among them are the following: "... since man is subject to endless tribulations and afflicted with innumerable enemies despite his boundless impotence, and suffers from endless needs and has innumerable desires despite his boundless poverty, after belief, his fundamental innate duty is supplication. As for supplication, it is the basis of worship of God and servitude to Him."34 "Belief necessitates supplication as a certain means of securing needs, and both human nature has an intense desire for it, and Almighty God decrees, Say: My Sustainer would not concern Himself with you but for your supplication,35 which has the meaning of: What importance would you have if you did not offer Me supplications? He also commands: Call upon Me and I will answer you."36, 37 It is encumbent on man that he should proclaim his impotence and weakness at the divine court, and state his poverty and need through the tongue of entreaty and humble supplication, and that he is God's servant. "Supplication is the spirit of worship and the result of sincere belief. For one who makes supplication shows through it that there is someone who rules the whole universe; One Who knows the most insignificant things about me, can bring about my most distant aims."38 Ustad Nursi discovered the extremely important idea that all beings are supplicating and glorifying God through the tongue of disposition and the abilities lodged in them. For seeds and

grains entreat their Maker to make them grow so that they can display the wonders of His names and power before the gazes of the believers and the deniers. Beings offer another sort of supplication; they ask God Almighty through the tongue of their inborn natures for all the things they need for their development and continued existence, which are outside their power. And the Most Merciful and Compassionate One assists them and makes them proofs before the deniers, and certain witnesses for those who affirm His unity. Said Nursi says that man's supplications are of two kinds. One is by action and is to have recourse to the causes facilitating life. And the other is by word, and that is to address oneself to God Almighty verbally and with one's being. He discusses too the effects of supplication on the one offering them, and says that the most powerful of these is that the supplication increases certain knowledge that there is someone listening, who will take mercy on him, and succour him with his remedies and power, which reaches all things. So a feeling of familiarity enters the heart of the supplicant and he attains a constant sense of the divine presence. He feels a joy and expansiveness. His belief is strengthened and he offers more praise and supplications and rises in the degrees of closeness to God. Said Nursi says: "Thus, look at the great breadth of sincere belief in God's unity which supplication gives and at the sweetness and purity of the light of belief that it shows. Understand the meaning of the verse, Say, No importance would your Sustainer attach to you were it not for your supplication."39 Ustad Nursi sets out the conditions for the acceptability of prayer in several of his works,40 as has been shown. However, his explanations are characterized by their being realistic and their swiftly affecting the heart and reason. 6. If worship and servitude of God are the purpose of life and growing closer to God is its aim, Imam Nursi delineated a new way for God's servants to achieve these. It is derived from the Qur'an in distinction to the Sufi ways and scholarly schools. Relying on his experience and perception, he empasized that this is a short and fruitful path. He says: "The ways leading to Almighty God are truly numerous. While all true ways are taken from the Qur'an, some are shorter, safer, and more general than others. Of these ways taken from the Qur'an is that of impotence, poverty, compassion, and reflection, from which, with my defective understanding, I have benefited. (...) "However, let it not be misunderstood. It means to see one's impotence, poverty and faults before Almighty God, not to fabricate them or display them to people. The method of this short path is to follow the Practices of the Prophet (PBUH), perform the religious obligations and give up serious sins. And it is especially to perform the prescribed prayers correctly and with attention, and following them to say the tesbihat."41 He then describes how each of the four steps of this way leading to God's pleasure is based on a verse of the Qur'an:

"The verse, Therefore, do not justify yourselves,42 points to the First Step [impotence]. "The verse, And be not like those who forget God, and He therefore makes them forget their own selves,43 points to the Second Step [poverty]. "The verse, Whatever good happens to you is from God, but whatever evil befalls you is from yourself,44 points to the Third Step [compassion]. "The verse, Everything will perish save His countenance,45 points to the Fourth Step [reflection]." Bediuzzaman Said Nursi perceived and observed that Muslims had been overtaken by a calamity and had become submerged in false ideas that led some of them to the Unity of Existence, a school that taught that the universe was non-existent. This idea paralyzed the Muslims, making them lazy and powerless to develop the abilities they had been given. He wanted to save them from this chronic sickness, and sprinkling them with the water of the Qur'an, to restore their health and vigour. With his succinct words, he alerted them to the problem and provided sound ideas. At the head of the piece, he wrote: "This Addendum has great importance; it is beneficial for everyone." He dealt what is apparently a chastening slap and a warning. He concludes it saying: "Dismissing beings from working on account of other beings, this way is not look at them as signifying themselves."46 In this sense, this way is needed by all humanity, for on it one supplicates God humbly and continuously by tongue and by deed, and rises to the highest of the high. He addresses the believers, saying: "O people of belief! Your armour against this awesome enemy is the fear of God fashioned on the workbench of the Qur'an. And your shield is the practices of the Noble Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him). And your weapon, seeking refuge with God from Satan, and seeking forgiveness, and taking refuge in divine protection."47 7. Imam Nursi discusses man in relation to both this world and the hereafter and ties these two aspects of him firmly together with numerous evidences that look to both reason and reality, and consciousness and the emotions. If man wants to be happy in both these, he has to make all his energies and powers, and thoughts and feelings subservient to the Eternal One, to eternity, which is innate and natural for him. Nursi sees the proofs for this all around us. He says: "Included in human nature is an intense love. Even, because of the power of imagination, man fancies a sort of immortality in everything he loves. Whenever he thinks of or sees their passing, he cries out from the depths of his being. All lamentations at separation are interpretations of the weeping resulting from love of immortality. If there was no imagined immortality, there would be no love. It might even be said that a reason for the existence of the eternal realm and everlasting Paradise is the intense desire for immortality arising from that passionate love of immortality, and from the innate and general prayer for immortality."48

Nursi emphasizes that the beings dispersed through the universe were not created to go to nothingness, but to eternity, and that their apparent passing is only a release from their duties. If something dies, it does so in one respect only, for it is eternal in many other ways. He says: "Look, for example, at the flower, a word of God's power; for a short time it smiles and looks at us, and then hides behind the veil of annihilation. It departs just like a word leaving your mouth. But it does so entrusting thousands of its fellows to men's ears. It leaves behind meanings in men's minds as numerous as those minds. The flower, too, expressing its meaning and thus fulfilling its function, goes and departs. But it goes leaving its apparent form in the memory of everything that sees it, its inner essence in every seed. It is as if each memory and seed were a camera to record the adornment of the flower, or a means for its perpetuation. (...) You will also understand that man has not been left to graze at will, with a halter loosely tied around his neck; on the contrary, the forms of all his deeds are recorded and registered, and the results of all his acts are preserved for the day when he shall be called to account. (...) You will understand, further, that the destruction visited upon the beautiful creatures of summer and spring in the autumn is not for the sake of annihilation. Instead, it is a form of dismissal after the completion of service. It is also a form of emptying in order to clear a space for the new creation that is to come in the following spring, of preparing the ground and making ready for the beings that are to come and assume their functions. Finally, it is a form of Divine warning to conscious beings to awake from the neglect that causes them to forget their duties, from the drunken torpor that causes them to forget their obligation of offering thanks. (...) You will understand this, too, that the eternal Maker of this transient world has another, everlasting world; it is to this that He urges and impels His servants."49 With this subtle meaning and its extensive effects, Ustad Nursi directs his address to man so that he may utilize all the moments of his life by extending it. He can make it endless through his capacity to live in his heart and spirit, which are animated through knowledge of God and love of Him, and through being clothed in worship of Him. So his brief, fleeting life here becomes everlasting in the eternal realm. It is encumbent on man that he turns his face towards the religion of Abraham, and says like him: "I love not those that set;" and turns to the True Beloved.50 "In which case, the true duty and happiness of man is to cling with all his powers and faculties to the names of that Eternally Enduring One within the bounds of those things that please Him; it is to be turned towards Him, and to go to Him. As man's tongue utters "the Enduring One, You are the Enduring One!,' so his heart, spirit, mind, and all his subtle faculties should declare [it]."51 Nursi advised his students, brothers, and others following his path, that the way to obtain these benefits and bounties in the eternal realm was to "work for God's sake, meet with others for God's sake, labour for God's sake; act within the sphere of "For God, for God's sake, on account of God.' Then all the moments of your life will become like years."52 When Ustad Nursi addresses man linking his two worlds, this world and the next, he is elucidating the meanings of Qur'anic verses about the resurrection of tthe dead and Last

Judgement and what these imply, and Paradise and its pleasures, and Hell-fire and its terrors, to intimidate the obdurate deniers, and all this in the tongue of the Qur'an and Glorious Sunna. He is drawing these matters close to man's world, to himself, his ideas, his memory, and his surroundings, so that he will confirm them after mentioning the certain proofs, and rise to the degree of experiential vision. He will confirm too that the path to eternal bliss is truly travelled by way of worship, and following the Qur'an and Glorious Sunna, and turning by means of them to the Eternal Ever-Living One. Nursi says addressing the human soul: "O soul! If, in a brief life, you want to do something that will profit you infinitely in the hereafter, and you want every moment of your life to be as beneficial as a life-time, and if you want to transform your habitual actions into worship and your heedlessness into awareness of the Divine presence, follow the Illustrious Practices of the Prophet (PBUH). For when you apply your actions to the rulings of the Shari'a, it affords a sort of awareness of God's presence; it becomes worship of a sort and yields many fruits for the hereafter."53 8. To Conclude: All Ustad Nursi's works were written to guide man and to establish belief in his heart and to give him insight into the truths of the world around him. So too, he drew the world of the unseen closer to the manifest world, and he set out proofs and explanations, arguments and evidences, so that man might worship God in full knowledge of his place in the universe, and that he might give thanks for his Sustainer's bounties, act in accordance with His guidance, realizing His aims, dwelling in his proximity in His Paradise and good pleasure. Nursi says: "Together with bringing the macrocosm into being in the form of a cultivated property, He has created man and has given him such tools and abilities, senses, feelings, and especially such a soul, such desires, needs, appetities, greed and claims, that in that extensive property He made him like a creature totally owned and needy for the property. "Is it therefore at all possible that anything apart from the Glorious Lord of All Dominion Who makes everything, from the vast world of minute particles to a fly, as a field and cultivated property, and makes insignificant man a spectator, an inspector, a tiller, a merchant, a herald, a worshipper, and a slave in that vast property and takes him as an honoured guest and beloved addressee of Himself-could anything apart from Him have free disposal over the property and be lord over the totally owned slave?"54 In his thought and works, Ustad Nursi scoops up wisdom from the spring of the Qur'an, and shows it to be in conformity with man's life and reality, with all its variations and states. His discussion of man as though speaks through the Qur'an, calling to the Most Merciful's guidance, as herald of the market of life and its gifts of kknowledge, and in this brief and transitory world, disclose the material preliminaries to man's eternal happiness in the eternal realm. Very often Nursi does not mention the Qur'an and its verses that touch on his subject. My opinion is that this is intentional, for he wanted to refute the atheistic deniers and the ignorant

and heedless with material, tangible proofs, for they did not believe in the Qur'an, and to confront them with their own ideas and what they believed in. Imam Nursi treated numerous questions related to man that require care and insight, such as his desires and their effects and how they are manifested; and the attributes of the believers, the obdurate, and the rebellious, as he saw them, and the doubts that drag man down; and numerous other matters that need to be well grasped, and have been mentioned above in detail. Imam Nursi's ideas are luminous, attractive, and vital. How needy is mankind for them today, in order to save belief and revive morality. With his ideas he is here amongst us, curing the ills of Muslims, offering effective Qur'anic remedies. What could be more appropriate than researchers, thinkers, and callers to God's way profiting from his guidance, thought, and way, and learning from his writings and the Risale-i Nur.