Love and alliance between Muslims can be achieved by sincerity

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There seems to be competitive disagreement, harmful opposition and competition between the people of truth, instead of true love and alliance. Attaining sincerity is the solution to be saved from this horrible tribulation by means of the Divine mercy.

“The Twentieth Flash” from the Risale-i Nur Corpus

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

إنَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ فَاعْبُدِ اللهَ مُخْلِصًا لَهُ الدِّينَ أَلا لِلهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ

In the Name of Allāh, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

We have, indeed, sent down the Book to you with the truth. So worship Allāh, making the religion sincere to Him. For, most surely, it is to Allāh that the (true) religion of purity belongs. (Qur’ān: az-Zumar, 39:2-3)

هَلَكَ النَّاسُ إِلاَّ العَالِمُونَ وَهَلَكَ العَالِمُونَ إِلاَّ العَامِلُونَ وَهَلَكَ العَامِلُونَ إِلاَّ المُخْلِصُونَ

وَالمُخْلِصُونَ عَلَى خَطَرٍ عَظِيمٍ * أو كما قال

‘Mankind are ruined except for those who know, and those scholars who know are ruined except for those who act [upon what they know], and those who act [upon what they know] are ruined except the sincere – and the sincere are in immense danger.’ Or a wording close to it. (‘Uqūdu’z-Zabarjad v2 p324)

The verse and the noble tradition above both emphasise that sincerity is an important foundation in Islām. We will now elucidate in summary form five of the limitless points related to this theme of sincerity.

The first point:

An important and fearful question: Why do religious people, Islāmic scholars (‘ulamā’), and adherents of Sūfi orders, who are the people of truth and of harmony (ahlu’l-ḥaqqi wa’l-wifāq), differ in competitive fashion when it is the case that the worldly people (ahlu’d-dunyā) and the people of heedlessness (ahlu’l-ghaflah) and even the people of misguidance and hypocrisy (ahlu’ḍ-ḍalālah wa’nnifāq) agree without any sense of competition? While agreement (ittifāq) is the right of people of harmony (ahlu’l-wifāq), and disagreement (khilāf) one of the entailments of people of hypocrisy (ahlu’n-nifāq), why is it that this truth has moved to there, and that falsehood came here?

The answer: We will elucidate seven of the many causes underlying this tragic, painful, distressing issue that makes those with [Islāmic] zeal weep.

The first cause: The disagreement of the people of truth does not stem from their being in the wrong, just as the agreement of the heedless does not stem from their being in the right. Rather it is that the vocations of the groups, organisations and associations who carry out particular duties and special services within [specific] strata of social life, like the worldly people, politicians and scholars, have been designated and made distinct. And the material payment that they lay claim to for their livelihoods in return for the duties that they have carried out as well as the immaterial payment of people’s attention (1) that they take with respect to their love of status, prestige and fame have also been designated and made distinct. No [real] partnership exists between them in the first place to the degree that would cause rivalry, argumentation and competition. That is why it is possible for them to [superficially] agree amongst themselves, however corrupt their path may be.

The vocations of all religious people, scholars, and masters of the Sūfi orders, however, are [not specific and] orientated towards all people. And their instant payment is unspecified and undetermined. And since their share with respect to social standing, the attention of people and a positive reception remains undetermined, many are nominated for a single position. And a great many hands may reach out to each material and immaterial reward [related to that position]. By this point do rivalry and competitiveness emerge transforming concord into discord, agreement turns into disagreement.

Now, the ointment and remedy for this dangerous sickness is sincerity (ikhlāṣ) alone. That is to say, one can manage to attain sincerity by means of preferring the following of the truth to following the whims of their lower selves, and through realising the secret of إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلاَّ عَلَى اللهِ (It is Allāh alone Who will reward me (34:47)) and through an inclination to truth overcoming the inclinations of self-centredness and the lower self, and by realising the secret ofمَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلاَّ البَلاَغُ. (The Messenger’s duty is only to deliver the message (5:99))which comes about through having no need (2) of both the material and immaterial payments coming from people, whilst knowing that having a good reception, a good influence and acquiring people’s attention is all taken care of by Allāh Most High, and it comes from His beneficence, whereas this [i.e. good reception, influence and people’s attention to his cause] is not part of the delivering of the message (tablīgh) which is their duty, and that one should not in the first place be concerned with it, nor is one responsible for it – and that otherwise, this will let sincerity slip away.

The second cause: From the lowliness of the people of misguidance, thence comes their agreement. From the sense of honour of the people of guidance, thence comes their disagreement. That is, worldly people and the people of misguidance who constitute the heedless of people are weak and lowly for they do not rely on the truth and on reality. And because they are lowly they are in need of getting strength [from someone else]. It is because of this need that they cling on firmly to cooperation and alliance with others. They preserve this agreement even though their way is that of misguidance. In fact, they advocate a [sort of] truth within that falsehood, and they become sincere in that misguidance, and espouse a type of atheistic fanaticism within irreligion, and manifest a type of harmony within that hypocrisy such that they become successful [in this world]. For sincere sincerity does not stay without fruit, even though it be in evil.

Yes, Allāh gives anything to whomsoever demands with [pure] sincerity – whatever it is that he asks for. (3) However, because the people of guidance and the religion, the ‘ulamā’ and the adherents of Sūfi orders lean upon truth and reality, and [because] each of them think only of the Divine [good pleasure], and rely upon His Divinely granted success, they have a dignity that spiritually springs from this way. Whenever such a person feels weakness, they return to their Lord, instead of returning to people, and they seek assistance from Him. They do not fully perceive the need for the assistance of those who superficially differ from his own spiritual method (mashrab), and this is as a result of the [mere] existence of differences in ways. Such people are not able to see that they are in need of alliance [with others], and indeed if they are self-conceited and egotistical. They will imagine that they [solely] are in the right, and that anyone who has differences with them are upon falsehood – and from this arises differences and competitiveness instead of agreement and love, and this drives away sincerity, and all their good deeds will have been futile.

The following nine things are the only way out of having to see the disastrous consequences that this terrifying cause will lead to:

1 It is to act constructively [or in other words, to adopt a positive attitude]. That is to say, it is to act with the love for one’s own way (maslak). Let one’s thought and action not be interrupted with his animosity towards other ways and belittling others. And indeed let one not be occupied with their cause, [rather with his own cause.]

2 To agree with those who are within the fold of Islām bearing in mind the fact that there exist between them a great many bonds of unity that are the locus of love, brotherhood and agreement, whatever variety of ways they may have.

3 Taking the law of fairness as guide, it is the right of any person adhering to a legitimate cause (maslak) to say – without violating the rights of the others – ‘my cause is right,’ or even ‘my cause is better’. However, it is not his right to say, ‘my cause alone is right,’ or, ‘goodness lies solely in my spiritual method’ (mashrab), in a way that implies that the causes of others are invalid or ugly.

4 Bearing in mind that agreement with the people of truth constitutes one of the causes of Divinely-granted success, and one of the causes of Islām’s dignity.

5 Protecting the truth and the reality faced with the dangerous collective spiritual personality of the people of misguidance, by making a strong collective spiritual personality to emerge by means of the alliance of the people of truth, in realisation of the fact that even the strongest resistance of an individual will be defeated faced with the collective spiritual personality [of the people of misguidance] in a time in which the people of misguidance and falsehood are with great genius attacking as a strong collective spiritual personality as a group [which is made possible] by their mutual assistance of one another.

And in order to save the truth from the assault of falsehood, one must abandon:

6 One’s evil-commanding self

7 One’s self-centredness

8 What one might mistakenly call dignity

9 Trivial sentiments that drive one to competitiveness. It is by means of these nine points that one can attain sincerity, and excellently fulfil one’s duty. (4)

The third cause: Disagreement amongst the people of truth does not stem from a lack of spiritual aspiration and endeavour (himmah) nor from baseness, and the agreement of the people of misguidance does not come from their high level of ambition, but rather the disagreement amongst the people of guidance comes from the misuse of a high level of spiritual aspiration and endeavour (himmah), and the agreement of the people of misguidance comes from weakness and powerlessness that arise from a lack of himmah. The factor that pushes the people of guidance from high spiritual ambition to its misuse and then to disagreement and competitiveness is eagerness for reward – which is counted as a praiseworthy trait with respect to the Hereafter – and their being unsatisfied concerning their [performance] in such vocations of theirs as relate to the Hereafter. That is, one adopts a rather competitive stance against an individual who is in fact his true brother, and who is in the greatest need of his help, brotherhood and love – [he goes into this state of competitiveness] saying, ‘Let me get that reward,’ ‘let me guide those people,’ ‘let them hear my words.’ He says, ‘why are my students going to so-and-so?’ and ‘why do I not have as many students as him?’ From thence his egoistic nature finds an opportunity, and it drives him on to the love of status that is a blameworthy trait, and he thus loses his sincerity, and opens the door to ostentation (riyā’).

Now, the remedy for this error and wound and terrifying spiritual ailment is the following:

Allāh Most High’s good pleasure is acquired by means of sincerity. It is not by having a large number of followers, nor by having a lot of [outer] achievements or success. Since these [results] are of the Divine actions, they are thus not requested. Rather, they are given at certain times.

Yes, at times a single word becomes the cause of salvation and the reason of the Divine good pleasure. The significance of quantity shouldn’t be the reason for that much attention – for the guiding of a single person can sometimes be as much of a reason for the Divine good pleasure as the guiding of a thousand men.

Moreover, sincerity and advocacy of the truth is to support the benefits of Muslims wherever and whoever they [these benefits] may be from. The notion that ‘they must learn from me alone so that I can get the reward,’ is nothing but the deception of the lower self and self-centredness.

O man who is eager for reward, and O one unsatisfied with the performance of deeds for the hereafter! Some messengers came, and none but a very limited number of individuals followed them, yet they received a reward that was unlimited, for that sacred vocation of prophethood – adeptness, then, does not come about by means of having a great number of followers, but it is by acquiring the good pleasure of Allāh. Who do you think you are that you forget your own duty and greedily intervene in Allāh’s arrangements, saying, ‘all must hear me!’ People being made to accept your words and to gather around you is amongst the things that Allāh Most High takes care of. Mind your own duty, and do not interfere in Allāh’s arrangements. What is more, it is so that those who listen to the truth and the reality and who make the one who speaks [of that reality] to win unto reward are not confined to the human race alone, but all conscious beings as well as the spirits and angels of Allāh Most High fill the universe and inhabit all parts thereof. Since you wish for a great deal of reward, make sincerity as your fundamental principle, and think only about Allāh’s good pleasure, such that each of the blessed words that come out of your mouth are invigorated and enlivened by the sincerity and the sincere intention in the air, and that they then enter the hearing of illimitable conscious beings and illuminate them, and therefore winning you reward. For if for example you were to say, ‘اَلْحَمْدُ لِلهِ’ ‘praise be to Allāh,’ that phrase would by Allāh’s permission be written in the air as millions of instances of ‘اَلْحَمْدُ لِلهِ’ both great and small.

As the Wise Inscriber (An-Naqqāshu’l-Ḥakīm) never acts futilely or wastefully, He has created our unbounded number of ears sufficient to hear those many blessed words. Whenever those words that are in the air have become enlivened and gained vitality through sincerity and a sincere intention, they enter the ears of the spiritually attuned as if sweet melodies;and if Allāh’s good pleasure (ridhā) and sincerity (ikhlāṣ) do not breathe life into the words existing in the air, they are not listened to, and the reward [that one gets for saying them] is not limited to the mere pronunciation of the words in one’s mouth. Let the ears of [some] ḥuffāẓ (memorisers of the Qur’ān) ring who are irritated by the small number of people listening to them due to their not so beautiful voice!

The fourth cause: The competitive disagreement of the people of guidance does not come from their not thinking of the final end, nor from short-sightedness, just as the sincere alliance of the people of misguidance does not come from eagerness for the final end, nor from farsightedness.

It is most probably the case that with the influence of truth (ḥaq) and reality (ḥaqīqah), the people of guidance are not carried away by the sentiments of blind lower self (nafs) and they follow the far-sighted inclinations of the heart (qalb) and the intellect (‘aql) with concern for the future. While this being so, since they cannot preserve the right direction (istiqāmah) and sincerity (ikhlāṣ), they are unable to safeguard that highly elevated station and fall into dispute.

On the other hand, under the influence of the lower self (nafs) and caprice (hawā’) and in accordance with the requirements of blind sentiments that see not the final end and that prefer a penny’s weight of immediate pleasure over a kilo of future pleasure, the people of misguidance sincerely and quite strongly agree amongst themselves, all for the sake of an instant benefit and an instantaneous pleasure.

Yes, the lowly and heartless people who worship their ego (nafs) ally together and unite with sincerity around worldly and instantaneous pleasure and benefit.

The people of guidance, on the other hand, being oriented in accordance with the incentive of the exalted laws of heart and intellect to the fruits of the Hereafter and to [human] perfections concerning the future, could have been able to establish firm steadfastness (istiqāmah), perfect sincerity and a unity and alliance of singular altruism and sacrifice, yet they are unable to divest themselves of egotism, such that exaggeration and negligence intervene, and they thus lose the alliance (ittifāq) that is the wellspring of lofty strength; and thence sincerity is broken. Duties for the hereafter become afflicted with a defectiveness, and the good pleasure of Allāh thus cannot be easily attained.

Now, the remedy and ointment for this dangerous sickness is the following: Attaining sincerity by taking pride in the company of all those who journey along the road of truth by the secret of ‘love in Allāh’ (al-ḥubbu fi’llāh) and by following them, by relinquishing the honour of being their leader (imām), and by ridding oneself of egotism bearing in mind the possibility that all those who journey along the road of truth, whoever they might be, may well be better than oneself. Then, by realising that a penny’s weight of sincere actions preponderates over kilos of insincere actions, and by preferring to be a follower as opposed to being followed with all the dangers of responsibility, one is saved from that sickness and wins unto sincerity, thereby being enabled to properly fulfil one’s vocations related to the Hereafter.

The fifth cause: The differences of the people of guidance and their lack of alliance does not arise from their being weak, just as the strong alliance of the people of misguidance does not arise from their strength. But rather, the lack of concordance (ittifāq) amongst the people of guidance arises from a tower of strength that springs from perfected faith, and from a strength that results from that tower of strength; just as the agreement of the heedless and the misguided comes from their weakness and powerlessness; for they can find no tower of strength in their hearts, because the weak [can easily] strongly agree, for they are in need of agreement, whereas the strong only weakly agree, because they see no pressing need for concordance. Certain animals the likes of tigers and foxes live alone because of their having no need of alliance, whereas wild goats form herds in order to ward off the evil of wolves. That is to say that the association of the weak and their collective personality (5) is strong, just as it is so that the organisations of the strong and their collective personality are weak.

A subtle allusion and a charming Qur’ānic detail that points to this secret can be found in the verse وَقَالَ نِسْوَةٌ فِي المَدِينَةِ (some women in the city said (12:30)) in its mentioning a group of women using a masculine verb قَالَ even though it is a doubly emphasised femininity, [and this subtle allusion is also found] in the verse قَالَتِ الأَعْرَابُ (the desert Arabs say (49:14)) in its mentioning a group of men using a feminine verb; قَالَت all of which gives a subtle allusion to the fact that a group of weak, delicate, mild women [can] become stronger and increase in firmness and strength, and acquire a type of manliness.

It is thus that the context required the use of the masculine verb, such that the expression وَقَالَ نِسْوَةٌ is of singular beauty; since men on the other hand, and especially if they are Bedouin Arabs, rely on their own [personal] strength and thus form weak groups, and since they take on [therein] states of circumspection, caution and softness, as if cloaking themselves to a degree in a womanly nature, the feminine verb in the expression قَالَتِ الأَعْرَابُ is completely befitting.

Yes, by the grace of the reliance on the Divine (tawakkul) and submission (taslīm) arising from faith in Allāh (al-īmānu billāh) that is a tower of strength of surpassing might, the people of truth do not request the support and assistance of others in presenting their needs to them. Even if they do request [in rare cases], they do not hold fast to them persistently.

On the other hand the worldly people fall into weakness and powerlessness in worldly matters because of their heedlessness of their true tower of strength, and they thus feel an intense need for helpers, and they sincerely concord with them, even to the degree of sacrifice.

Thus, because the people of truth do not reflect upon the power of truth that is latent in alliance and do not even look for it, they fall into differences – which is a very harmful conclusion that they don’t deserve. Whereas the people of misguidance, who don’t deserve unity, sense the power latent within concordance by means of their weakness, and they attain that alliance which is a means to realising very important objectives.

The remedy and ointment, then, for the undeserved illness of disagreement that has afflicted the people of truth, is to take the severe, Divine prohibition contained in the verse وَلاَ تَنَازَعُوا فَتَفْشَلُوا وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ (Quarrel not with one another lest you lose heart and your spirit depart (8:46)) and the Divine command tremendously wise with respect to societal life, وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى البِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى (Help one another in righteousness and godfearingness (5:2)) as a law governing one’s action, and to sincerely and in the spirit of sacrifice join the caravan of the people of truth in [the humility of] perfect weakness and powerlessness, keeping in mind the extent of the harm to Islām that dispute causes, as well as the degree to which it facilitates the people of misguidance’s overwhelming of the people of truth; and to acquire sincerity through self-denial, and by ridding oneself of ostentation (riyā’) and affectation (taṣannu‘).

The sixth cause: Just as it is so that the differences of the people of truth do not arise from their cowardice, nor from their lack of spiritual aspiration nor from a lack of noble-mindedness, likewise is it so that the sincere agreement of the heedless worldly people and of the people of misguidance in matters concerning this life does not arise from valour nor noble-mindedness nor from spiritual aspiration, but it is rather that the [lofty qualities like] noble-mindedness, spiritual aspiration and valour of the people of truth are split between those many important issues because of their thinking most of the time about interests relating to the Hereafter. And since they do not spend most of their time – their true capital – on a single issue, their agreement with [even] other colleagues following the same path does not get strengthened, for there are many issues, and the domain is wide, too.

Yet because the heedless and worldly people think only of this world, they cling very firmly with the fullness of their emotions, spirits and hearts to matters concerning the life of this world and hold fast to any who will help them realise those matters.

They limit their precious time, which is worth five hundred gold coins, in those [worldly] matters – and that in reality’s eyes are not worth even five copper coins, and that for the people of truth have not even the value of ten copper coins – like the crazed diamond-seller Jew who gives five gold coins for an insignificant piece of glass worth five copper coins. There can be no doubt that paying a heavy price and clinging firmly to these matters with powerful emotions, though it all be for the sake of falsehood, leads them to success, for they manifest real sincerity and overcome thereby the people of truth. And as a result of being prevailed over like this, the people of truth fall into humiliation, defeat, and affectation and ostentation, and lose their sincerity, and find themselves forced into flattering certain of the worldly, who have no valour, ambition nor noble-mindedness.

O people of truth (ḥaq)! And O people of the sacred law (sharī’ah) and the people of the spiritual reality (ḥaqīqah) and of the Sūfi orders (ṭarīqah), who all advocate the truth!

Do not look to the shortcomings of one another with respect to this severe illness of discord, and lower your gaze concerning one another’s faults! Act with the spiritual courtesy of the Furqān وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا (When they see some frivolity they pass by it with dignity. (25:72)).  

And leave internal disputes aside during the onslaught of external enemies, and consider the first and the most important of vocations concerning the Hereafter as saving the people of truth from falling and from humiliation, and obey the hundreds of verses and prophetic traditions (aḥādīth) that forcefully command you to brotherhood, love and cooperation; with all of your emotions, come to a stronger agreement with your brothers in your way and in your religion than that of the worldly. In other words, do not fall into division.

And do not weaken your agreement, saying, ‘I shall spend my precious moments doing precious things like Divine remembrance and contemplation instead of spending it engaged in these paltry matters. For what you imagine paltry could well prove a momentous and great part of spiritual struggle.

Just as a soldier’s taking up his position for only a single hour at an important time and under certain conditions could well take on the value of an entire year’s worship, so too might one’s dedicating a single day for the sake of an issue of spiritual struggle in a time in which the people of truth have been overwhelmed takes on the value of a thousand degrees like that soldier’s hour, and a single day of yours that of a thousand. Since all of this is for Allāh’s sake, it’s [apparent] triviality or immensity or its importance or unimportance are not to be looked at. For a particle is like a star when it is for the sake of sincerity and the Divine good pleasure – and the nature of the means is also not to be looked to, but its outcome. For since its outcome is the good pleasure of Allāh and the nucleus of that is sincerity, this matter is not therefore trivial, but is immense.

The seventh cause: The differences and competition amongst the people of truth and reality does not arise from envy or their coveting this world, just as the agreement of the worldly and the heedless does not arise from their chivalry nor from noble-heartedness but the people of truth only landed themselves in differences contaminated by competitiveness because they proved unable to fully preserve the noble-mindedness and high spiritual ambition that spring from spiritual reality nor [to fully preserve] the praiseworthy type of vying [with one another in good actions] in the way of truth, and they misused this to a degree because of the unqualified people’s entering amongst them, and they thereby grievously harmed themselves and the Muslims.

Whereas, because of their abasement, cowardice and lack of noble-mindedness, the heedless and the people of misguidance unite in true fashion with their friends – though they indeed be lowly, treacherous and harmful people – and in order not to make their leaders and friends shun whom they love to the degree of worship for the sake of personal interest and benefit, and those, who unite around their interests, sincerely ally with their partners in any way possible. They benefit from this unity and agreement as a result of this seriousness and sincerity.

O people of truth and reality, who have been tested with this tribulation, and have landed in differences! You have been instrumental in the weakness and defeat of the people of truth for you have impaired sincerity in this time of troubles, and failed to make the Divine good pleasure your sole goal and aim.

There must not exist competition, covetousness, envy and jealousy in matters of religion and the Hereafter, and this simply cannot happen from reality’s viewpoint. For the underlying cause of jealousy and envy are many hands being stretched out for a single thing, and many eyes eyeing a single position, and many stomachs desiring a single piece of bread. It is for this reason that they land in covetousness, because of division, dispute and competition, and thence they fall into jealousy.

And in so far as many are bent upon a single thing in this world, and in so far as this constricted, temporary world cannot satiate the limitless desires of man, people fall into competitiveness. Yet in the Hereafter, a single person will be granted a Paradise that extends for five hundred years, (6) and seventy thousand palaces and houris. All of the inhabitants of Paradise will be maximally contented with their share and all of this points to the fact that in the Hereafter there is not a single cause for competition. And competitiveness cannot possibly exist there either.

So, there cannot be competitiveness about righteous actions that belong to the Hereafter either. [Paradise] is not a place of jealousy. The envier is either a hypocrite who is running after worldly aims in the name of righteous deeds, or he is a sincere but ignorant person who does not know where righteous deeds are oriented to. And he does not perceive that sincerity is the spirit and basis of righteous actions, who blames the extent of Divine mercy and bears in the form of competitiveness a type of animosity towards Allāh’s saints (awliyā’).

Here is an incident for you that corroborates this truth: One of our old friends used to bear animosity against a certain person. His enemy was praised in front of him, saying that he was a righteous person and indeed describing him as a saint. This person had never envied him nor been irritated by this, but then someone said, ‘this enemy of yours is brave and strong,’ and we saw that the veins of intense envy and competition had been aroused.

We said to him, ‘sainthood and righteousness are a power and a loftiness like a pearl of endless, undying life. You never envied him from this perspective. Comparing worldly strength and intrepidity with sainthood and righteousness is like comparing a simple piece of glass with diamonds – for worldly strength can exist in an ox, and bravery in wild beasts.

That man then said, ‘both of us fixed our eyes on a certain point and certain station in this world as our aim. Our stairs to climb up to that station are the things like strength and bravery. This is why I envied [him]. Yet the stations and degrees of the Hereafter are limitless. He might well be a beloved sincere brother to me in the Hereafter despite being an enemy to me in this world.’

O people of truth and the Sūfi orders! Serving the truth is like carrying and preserving a vast, heavy treasure. Those who carry this treasure upon their shoulders are gladdened even more every time strong hands strive to help them.

Why then should these true, helping brothers and sacrificing assistants be looked at with competitiveness? Whereas, let alone being jealous of them, they should be applauded with sincere happiness and pride for the greater strength, help and influence [than yours in serving the truth].

This state impairs sincerity. You are blamed in your vocation. And you become exposed to terrifying, false accusations from the people of misguidance that you are trying to acquire this world by means of religion, and to guarantee yourself a livelihood by means of knowledge of spiritual reality, competing out of greed and covetousness with people – all of which are one hundred degrees lower than you and your path.

The only cure for this sickness is blaming one’s own self, and ever being in favour of one’s companion sharing the same path, and not of one’s self.

Amongst the ‘ulamā’ of the science of debate and the science of ethics there is a law of fairness and advocacy of the truth, which is that ‘if one advocates what he is saying is the truth in a debate on a particular issue, and becomes happy if it becomes revealed that he is right and his opponent wrong and mistaken, that person is lacking in fairness.’ And indeed he loses.

For if it becomes clear that he is right, he has not through that debate learned anything new that he used not to know, and he may well be harmed by the possibility of self-conceit. Whereas if the truth becomes manifest at the hands of his opponent, he gets benefit by learning about an issue he did not formerly know, without coming to harm, and he is saved from the conceit of the lower self.

Thus, the reasonable fair-minded [seeker of the truth] forsakes his own self for the sake of the truth, and should he see the truth in the hands of his opponent, he accepts it with satisfaction, advocates [that truth] and is pleased with it.

Now, if the religious, the people of spiritual reality, the followers of Sūfi orders and the ‘ulamā’ take this law on as their guide, they attain sincerity, and succeed in their vocations related to the Hereafter, and they are saved by means of the Divine mercy from this horrible fall and from this current tribulation.

سُبْحَانَكَ لاَ عِلْمَ لَنَا إِلاَّ مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَلِيمُ الحْكِيمُ {

Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except that which you have taught us, surely You are the All-knowing, the Wise.


1.Notice: The attention of people is not to be desired, but it is only given [by the Divine]. If it is given, one is not meant to enjoy it. If they enjoy its bestowal, one loses their sincerity and lands themselves in ostentation (riyā’). Should the attention of people be bestowed on them due to their desire for prestige and fame in the first place, then this is nothing near to payment nor reward for them but in fact a [Divine] reprimand and punishment arising from one’s lack of sincerity. Yes – it being so that the attention of people, as well as fame and prestige are all at the expense of sincerity, which is the life of righteous actions, and in the world subsequent to the grave take on an ugly form – much like the punishment of the grave [itself] – all in return for a temporary, partial pleasure that only continues unto the door of the grave, it is unfitting for one to be desirous of the attention of people, and indeed it should be guarded against and avoided – let the ears of worshippers of fame ring, as well as those who run after prestige and reputation!

2.This is taking the quality of altruism (īthār) that the Companions had, and that is praised in the Qur’ān, as a guide and model that is preferring other to oneself when receiving gifts and charity (ṣadaqa), and seeing that the material benefits that come in return for religious work – this without one’s heart requesting or desiring them – are pure benefactions of the Divine; and being not indebted to people, and indeed not accepting these benefits in return for services to religion, for one should not request anything for this world in return for services to religion in order that one’s sincerity not be lost. Now the truth is, [those serving] deserve to have the Muslim community provide them with their sustenance. They are also entitled to zakāt, but this is not requested [from people], rather it is given [by the community]. At the time of the bestowal [of zakāt], it should not be said that ‘this is payment for my services.’ One can save oneself from this immense danger by realising the secret of وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ ”They prefer others over themselves, though they too be poor” (59:9), and by being content with what one has as much as one can, and by preferring the self of those who are worthy and deserving over one’s own self, in order that one be able to attain sincerity.

3.Yes, من طلب وجَدَّ وَجَدَ ‘he who seeks and [sincerely] applies himself finds,’ is one of the principles of reality, and its universality and expansiveness also extends to our cause (maslak).

4.Indeed, since in authentic traditions it has been related that in the End Times the truly religious Christians will ally with the people of the Qur’ān and they will resist the atheism that constitutes their mutual enemy, it is surely incumbent upon the religious people and the people of the truth at the present time to sincerely accord with those who share the same creed and have the same path, and who constitute their brothers. Indeed, they are in need of [a type of] alliance with even the truly pious, spiritual leaders from amongst the Christians against their shared enemy – aggressive atheists – temporarily leaving behind discussion and debate of the points on which they differ.

5.This claim of ours is strengthened by the fact that the association safeguarding the rights and freedoms of women, which was founded by women in America, they being of kind, weak, delicate sort, is from one perspective one of the strongest, solid and most influential of all associations in the West, and this is further confirmed by the sacrifice and strength disclosed by the activities of the associations of the Armenians, who are a minority and one of the weaker of nations.

6. A significant question from an important end. It has reached us in the narration that “in paradise a man is given a paradise of five hundred years.” How could this reality fit into the intellects of the people in this world? The answer: Just as everyone in this world has their own individual and temporal world, and the pillar of his world is his life, and he benefits from that world of his through his outward and inward sensations, and he says “the sun is a light of mine and the stars are my candles.” Just as other creations and spirit-endowed beings do not constitute a barrier for him to own his own world, rather they liven up his individual world and embellish it. Similarly, thousands of degrees superior than this [world], every believer has an individual five hundred years wide paradise that has thousands of palaces and houris in the main garden of paradise. One benefits in a form befitting the paradise and eternity from it with their senses and feelings that developed according to their ranks. Other people’s participation does not impair their ownership and benefit, rather they strengthen. And they embellish the special and wide paradise of them [by their participation.] Yes, just as a man in this world benefits from his journey in a one hour wide garden, or on a one day wide promenade or in a one month wide country or at a one year wide resort, with his mouth, ears, eyes, taste as well as other senses, similarly the [same] senses of smell and taste, that merely benefit from a one hour wide garden in this passing country [i.e. this world], benefit from a one year wide garden in that eternal country [i.e. paradise]. And the senses of sight and hearing that can merely benefit from the one year wide resort here [in this world] there [in the paradise] benefit from a journey in the five hundred year wide promenade in a way that is befitting that glorious country embellished from one end to the other. Every believer enjoys, gets pleasure and benefit with their senses that expand and develop in accordance with their rank, rewards and acts of kindness.