The Addendum to the Fourteenth Word
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
When the earth is shaken to its [utmost] convulsion, * And the earth throws up its burdens [from within], * And man cries [distressed] “What is the matter with it?” * On that Day will it declare its tidings. * For that your Sustainer will have given it inspiration.23
This Sura states definitely that in its movements and earthquakes the earth shakes at a command, on receiving revelation and inspiration. And sometimes it trembles.
[Prompted by an inspiration, the answers occurred to me to six or seven minor questions related to the current earthquakes, importantly from the point of view of their meaning. Although on several occasions I intended to write them in detail, permission was not given, so they have been written briefly and in short.]
• First Question: More distressing than the material disaster of the present severe earthquake are its immaterial aspects; the fear and despair at further earthquakes is destroying the nightly rest of most of the people in most areas. What is the reason for this terrible torment?
The Answer, again in regard to its Meaning: It has been said that the drunken, licentious songs, some of which were performed by girls, being broadcast rapturously by means of the radio during the tarawih prayers of the month of Ramazan in every corner of this blessed centre of Islam resulted in the torment of this fear.
• Second Question: Why aren’t these heavenly blows dealt at the unbelievers in their countries? Why are they visited on the unhappy Muslims?
The Answer: Just as the requital for big mistakes and crimes is postponed and made in big centres, and the requital for small crimes is made quickly in small centres, as a consequence of an important instance of wisdom, the recompense of the greater part of the unbelievers’ crimes is
23. Qur’an, 99:1-5.
postponed and made in big centres, and the requital for small crimes is made quickly in small centres, as a consequence of an important instance of wisdom, the recompense of the greater part of the unbelievers’ crimes is postponed to the Last Judgement, while the punishment for the believers’ faults is in part given in this world.24
• Third Question: What is the reason for this disaster, which arises from the wrongdoing of a few individuals, occurring to a degree generally throughout the country?
The Answer: The general disaster results from the wrongdoing of the majority: most people in effect participate in the actions of those tyrannical individuals by supporting them either actively or morally or in some connection.
• Fourth Question: Since this disaster of an earthquake results from wrongdoing and is atonement for sins, why are the innocent and those not at fault struck by it? How does Divine justice permit this?
The Answer, again in regard to its meaning: Since this matter concerns the mystery of Divine Determining, we refer you to the Risale-i Nur and here only say this:
And fear tumult or oppression, which affects not in particular [only] those of you who do wrong.25
That is, beware of the calamity or disaster which when it occurs is not restricted to wrongdoers but strikes the innocent as well.
The meaning of the above verse is as follows: this world is a field of trial and examination, and a place of striving where man is accountable for his actions. Accountability and examination require that reality remains veiled so that through competition and striving the Abu Bakr’s may rise to the highest of the high and the Abu Jahl’s may enter among the lowest of the low. If the innocent remained untouched by such disasters, the Abu Jahl’s would submit just like the Abu Bakr’s, and the door of spiritual and moral progress through striving would be closed and the mystery of accountability spoiled.
Since Divine wisdom requires that oppressed and oppressor are together afflicted by disaster, what then is the share of the wretched oppressed of Divine mercy and justice?
It was said in reply to this question: for them there is a manifestation of mercy within the wrath and anger in the disaster. For just as the transient property of the innocent becomes like alms and gains permanence, the relatively little and temporary difficulty and torment is a form of martyrdom for them
24. Furthermore, in abandoning an abrogated and corrupted religion, people like the Russians do not incur Divine wrath to the extent of those who betray a true and eternal religion which may not be abrogated. Thus, the earth leaves them at present, and displays its anger towards those here.
25. Qur’an, 8:25.which also gains for their transient lives a permanent life. The earthquake earns for them a huge, perpetual profit, so for them is an instance of Divine mercy within the wrath.
• Fifth Question: Why does the One Who is All-Just and All-Compassionate, All-Powerful and All-Wise, not give particular punishments for particular wrongs, but inflicts a mighty element? How is this in keeping with the beauty of His mercy and His all-encompassing power?
The Answer: The All-Powerful One of Glory gives numerous duties to each element and through each duty causes them to produce numerous different results. If one result of one of an element’s duties is ugly, evil, or calamitous, the other good results make this result good also. If the element, which is angry at man, is prevented from that duty so that the single ugly result will not occur, then instances of good to the number of the good results will be abandoned, and so since not doing a necessary good is evil, instances of evil will be perpetrated to the number of the instances of good. A single evil not occurring would be extremely ugly, contrary to wisdom, contrary to reality, and a fault. And power, wisdom and reality are free of fault. Since certain errors constitute rebellion comprehensive enough to make the earth and elements angry, and are insulting aggression against the rights of numerous creatures, for sure, in order to demonstrate the extraordinary ugliness of such a crime, the command being given to a mighty element to “reprimand them” among its other general duties, is perfect wisdom and justice, and for the oppressed, perfect mercy.
• Sixth Question: The neglectful and heedless put it about that the earthquake resulted from a fault in the rock strata inside the earth, and look upon it as quite simply a chance event, natural, and without purpose. They do not see the non-material causes and results, so that they can come to their senses. Does ‘matter’, on which they base their views, have some reality?
The Answer: It has no reality other than misguidance for the following reason. Take the fly out of all the species on the earth, which each year is clothed in and changes more than fifty million finely embroidered well-ordered shirts: the intention, will, purpose, and wisdom manifested on the wing of a single fly, which is only one organ out of hundreds of one individual fly out of the countless numbers of all flies on the face of the earth, the fact that it is not neglected or left to its own devices, shows that the significant acts and states of the huge globe of the earth, which is the cradle, mother, place of recourse, and protector of innumerable conscious beings -no aspect of it whether particular or universal- can be outside the Divine will, choice, and purpose. However, as is required by His wisdom, the Possessor of absolute power makes apparent causes a veil to His disposals. When He wills an earthquake, and sometimes He does, He commands the
movement of the strata and ignites them. Even if it results from this movement or a fault in the strata, it is still at the Divine command and in accordance with His wisdom; it cannot occur in any other way.
For example, one man shot another with a rifle. If the man who fired the shot is entirely disregarded, and only the gunpowder in the bullet igniting is taken into consideration, the rights of the wretched victim would be completely violated, and it would be the epitome of foolishness. In just the same way, to forget the dominical command concerning the earth, which is a docile official of the All-Powerful One of Glory, rather, a ship or an aeroplane of His: “Explode a bomb inside the earth prepared through wisdom and will in order to arouse the heedless and the rebellious;” to forget this and to deviate into ‘nature’, is the very peak of stupidity.
An Addition and Footnote to the Sixth Question: In order to defend their way and counter the awakening of the believers and hinder them, the people of misguidance and the atheists display an obduracy so strange and a stupidity so peculiar that it makes a person regret his humanity. For example, in order to make men give up their wicked and wrongful rebellion which recently has to a degree taken on a general form, and to arouse mankind and make it forego this awesome revolt and recognize the universe’s Sovereign, Whom it does not want to recognize, the Creator of the heavens and the earth -not on account of a particular title but as Sustainer and Ruler of the whole universe and all the worlds and through a widespread and general manifestation throughout the universe in the universal sphere of His dominicality- has struck mankind in the face with awesome and widespread calamities like earthquakes, storms, and world wars through the universal elements coming to anger -through water, the air, and electricity, which are matchless and constant- and has demonstrated through them in most clear fashion His wisdom, power, justice, and self-subsistence. Although this is the case, certain brainless satans in human form respond to these universal dominical signs and divine reprimands with a foolish obstinacy, saying:
“It’s nature. It’s the explosion of some strata under the earth and just chance. It’s the sun’s heat clashing with electricity, which happened in America and brought all machinery to a standstill for five hours, and also caused the atmosphere in Kastamonu Province to turn red and take on the appearance of a conflagration.” They utter meaningless nonsense like this. Due to a boundless ignorance resulting from misguidance and an ugly obduracy arising from aggressive atheism, they do not know that causes are only each a pretext and a veil. A small seed taking the place of a village full of factories and looms to weave and produce the members of a pine-tree as large as a mountain shows this. By saying, “The tree emerged from the seed,” they in effect deny the thousand miracles displayed in the pine tree, and put forward a number of apparent causes. They reduce to nothing a
huge dominical act worked through the Creator’s will and wisdom. Sometimes they attach a scientific name to a most profound, unknowable, and important truth which has purposes in a thousand respects, as though through the name it has been understood. Whereas it is merely made commonplace, and without purpose, wisdom, or meaning.
So, come and see the innumerable degrees of stupidity and foolishness! They attach a name to a truth so profound and broad and unknown it could be completely understood only if it and its purposes and instances of wisdom were described in a hundred pages. As though it was something obvious they say: “It is this.” For example, “It is some substance in the sun clashing with electricity.” Furthermore, they ascribe a particular and intentional dominical event to one of the natural laws, which are each the titles of universal and all-encompassing will and universal sovereignty, and are known as ‘Divine laws.’ And by doing this they sever its connection with Divine will and choice, then refer it to chance and nature. They display an ignorance more profound than Abu Jahl. It is a rebellious foolishness like attributing the victorious battle of an individual soldier or a battalion to military regulations and discipline, and cutting its connection with the commander, king, government, and purposeful action.
Similarly, if a wonder-working craftsman produces a hundred okkas26 of various foodstuffs and a hundred yards of varying cloths from a chip of wood the size of fingernail, like the creation of a fruitbearing tree from a seed, and someone points to the chip of wood and declares that these things have come into being out of it ‘naturally’ and ‘through chance,’ reducing to nothing the craftsman’s wondrous arts and skills, what utter lunacy it would be. It is exactly the same as that....
• Seventh Question: What should be understood from this event of the earth’s happening to the Muslim people of this country and being aimed at them? And why are the areas of Erzincan and Izmir affected most?
The Answer: As is indicated by many signs, like the event occurring during a hard winter in the dark of night in severely cold weather, and its restriction to a region where due respect is not paid to the month of Ramadan, and the earthquakes continuing mildly in order to arouse the neglectful -it suggests the earthquakes are aimed at and look to the believers and are shaking the earth in order to warn them to perform the prayers and their supplications, and the earth itself is shaking. There are two reasons for places like unfortunate Erzincan being shaken more than other places:
One: Since its faults are few, their purification has been expedited.
The Second: Since there is the opportunity in places like that of strong
26. 1 Okka = approx. 2.8 lbs. or 1,300 grams.
and loyal defenders of the faith and protectors of Islam being defeated to a degree or entirely and atheists establishing an effective centre of activity, it is possible that punishment has been visited on them first. None knows the Unseen save God.
All Glory be unto You, we have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.27
27. Qur’an, 2:32.