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A Commentary On The Contemporary World

Nûrun ´alâ nûr / Light Upon Light (The Qur'an, The Light 24:35)

 

By Bediuzzaman Said NURSI

Vision Of Light

In the holy month of Ramadan, I experienced, in a different mood, one of the many radiances of mystery of the light-diffusing verse, God is the light of the heavens and the earth. It is as follows:

I felt in my heart a convincing vision that all living creatures make the same supplication to God, of the kind made by Uways al-Qarani like

O God, You are my Lord, and I am Your servant .

‘You are the Creator, and I am the created,

‘You are the All-Provider, and I am the one provided…

And I felt that each of the eighteen thousand worlds receives its light from one of the Divine Names.

The world may be likened to a multi-petalled rose-bud, made up of many kinds of worlds one wrapped within the other. Behind or under the veil of each world, I saw a new one. Each world manifested itself, to me in darkness and frightening gloom, as depicted by the verse, or like the veils of darkness in a vast deep ocean, ovenwhelmed by a great wave topped by a great wave, topped by dark clouds, one darkness over an other, such that If a man stretches out his hand he can hardly see it! For whomsoever God has not appointed light, for him there is no light (al—Nur, 24.40).

In my vision, a Divine Name was suddenly manifested and enlightened whichever world appeared to me in darkness because of heedlessness. This journey of the ‘heart or the imagination’ lasted for a long time. What follows is a summary:

The world of animals appeared to me very gloomy because of their impotence and weakness along with innumerable needs and severe hunger. But the Divine Name of al-Rahman (the All-Merciful) suddenly appeared like a shining sun above the tower of All-Provider that is, with the function of all-inclusive provision, and illuminated that world thoroughly with the Light of Mercy.

After that, I saw within that world another one in a pitiful condition where the young desperately struggle in impotent and neediness. All of a sudden, the Name, the All-Compassionate rose above the tower of the All-Caring that is, with the function of all-comprehensive caring, and illuminated that world so beautifully that it changed the tears of joy, happiness and the pleasure of thanksgiving.

Then, like a film screen, a new screen appeared to me, where the human world manifested itself. That world was so dark and gloomy, and so terrifying that I was filled with panic and exclaimed, ‘How pitiful it is!’ For I saw that human beings have infinite desires and ambitions, universal ideas and imaginations and very grand inclinations and dispositions to eternity and eternal happiness in Paradise. Nevertheless, in addition to their infinite weakness and impotence and the multiplicity of their needs, they are exposed to innumerable misfortunes and the attacks of many enemies, and are flowing, one by one or in groups, through a short, tumultuous life, and a miserable livelihood, and under the tragic blows of continual decay and separation, to the grave, which (to the people of heedlessness) appears as gate opening onto eternal darkness whence they are hurled into a dark pit. I was on the point of collapsing in tears, with all my human senses including the intellect, heart and soul, and every particle of my body, at the sight of that world in such pitiful darkness and gloom, when the Divine Name, the All-Just, was suddenly manifested in the meaning of the All-Wise, and the Name, the All-Merciful in the meaning of the All-Generous, the Name, the All- Compassionate in the meaning of the All-Forgiver, the Name, the Raiser of the Dead in the meaning of the their-to-all, the Name, the Reviver in the meaning of the All-Beneficent, and the Name, the Lord, in the meaning of the Master. Those Names illuminated many spheres within that human world and opening windows on them out of the luminous world of the Hereafter, diffused light upon that human world of darkness.

Afterwards, another huge screen brought into view the earth and everything on it. The obscure laws of science and the principles of corrupt philosophy showed the earth as terrifying and gloomy. The condition of miserable humanity floating in infinite space on the old earth in a state of continuous volcanic eruption inside and apt to disintegration, moving at such great speed as to revolve around the sun in a year, seemed to me frighteningly gloomy. I was dazed and felt dizzy. But all at once, the Names of the Creator of the universe and the earth, the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing, the Lord, God and the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth and the Subduer of the Sun and the Moon appeared in the manifestation of Mercy, Grandeur and Lordship. They illumined that world in such a way that I saw the earth as a safe, perfect and beautiful ship of voyage, one subjected to humankind to travel in for pleasure or business.

In sum: I saw that each of the one thousand and one Divine Names is like a sun illuminating one of those worlds, containing many spheres within it, and that all the other Names manifest themselves on account of God’s Oneness, in some degree of ordered relation to the full manifestation of that Name. Having discerned a different light behind each veil of darkness. I felt the desire to make a spiritual journey to the eternal world of the heavens. I saw that those radiant planets which appear small to us are bigger than the earth, revolving in space faster than it. If a single one of them were to confuse its way, it would collide with another and cause the destruction of the universe. So, I saw the heavens as a dark, boundless and frightening space, with the stars, moving or fixed, radiating fire, and light. I felt much regret at having come up here, when the Divine Beautiful Names, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth and the Lord of the Angels and the Spirit manifested themselves in a way to disclose the meaning of, And indeed we have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps [al—Mulk, 67.5) and, He has subdued the sun and the moon. Each of the stars, which were located in darkness, received a gleam from the mighty light of those Names, and the heaven were illuminated as if as many lamps as the stars had been lighted. That space, which had been imagined to be dark and empty of any beings, were thronged and cheered by the angels and spirit beings, and the suns and stars, which, serving as one of the numerous hosts of the King of Eternity, seemed to me to demonstrate, as if performing an exalted manoeuvre, the magnificence of the Majestic King and the splendour of His Lordship. If it had been possible for me to speak, with all the strength of all the particles in my body, and in the languages of all creatures, and if they could have heard, recited:

God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a niche and within it a lamp, the lamp enclosed in glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow forth of itself though no fire touched it. Light upon light! God guides to His Light whom He will (al—Nur, 24.35).

However, I recited that verse on behalf of all creatures and, awakening from that state, I came back down to earth, uttering:

‘All praise be to God for the light of faith and the Qur’an.’

From the Risale—i Nur Collection (fifth part of the 29th Letter)