Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Whoever has been given the Wisdom, certainly he has been given much good
The following consists of a brief comparison between the sacred wisdom of the Wise Qur'an and human philosophy, and a concise summary of the instruction and training which the Qur'anic wisdom gives to man's personal and social life, and also an indication to the superiority of the Qur'an to the other Divine Words, and to all speech.
This Word comprises Four Fundamentals.
Look at the differences between the Qur'anic wisdom and human philosophy through the lens of the following parable:
Once, a religious and skillful, renowned ruler wanted to write the Qur'an as beautifully as required by the sacredness of its meanings and the miraculousness of its wording. He wanted to do this so that he might adorn its wonderful words in a worthy array. So, the artist-ruler wrote out the Qur'an in a truly wonderful fashion. In writing it out, he used all kinds of precious jewels. In order to point out the variety of its truths, he wrote some of its letters in diamonds and emeralds, and some in pearls and agate, and others in brilliants and coral, while others he wrote in gold and silver. Also, he adorned and decorated it in such a way that everyone, those who knew how to read and those who did not, were full of admiration and astonishment when they saw it. Especially in the judgement of the people of truth, since the outer beauty was an indication to the brilliant beauty and striking adornment within, that Qur'an became a most precious artwork.
The ruler showed the artistically wrought and bejewelled Qur'an to a foreign philosopher and a Muslim scholar In order to test them and for reward, he commanded them: 'Each of you write a work about the wisdom of this!' First the philosopher then the scholar, composed a book about it.
However, the philosopher's book discussed only the shapes and decorations of the letters and the relationships between them, and the properties of the jewels and the way they were used. He did not make any observations at all about the meaning, for that foreigner had no knowledge of the Arabic script. He did not even know that the embellished Qur'an was a book having a meaning. He rather looked on it as an ornamented art-object. He did not know any Arabic, but he was well-informed about engineering and chemistry. He also had a great ability to describe things and much knowledge about jewellery. So he composed his book according to these skills.
As for the Muslim scholar, on seeing the book, he understood that it was the Clear Book the Wise Qur'an. So, he - this truth loving person - neither paid any attention to its outward ornamentation nor busied himself with the decorations of the letters. He was rather engaged in something else which was millions of times more exalted, more valuable more worthy of respect, more useful and more comprehensive than the issues with which the other man was occupied. Therefore he composed an interpretation in which he described the sacred truths and secret lights behind the veil of decorations.
Both men - the foreign philosopher and Muslim scholar - presented their works to the renowned ruler. The ruler first took the book of the philosopher, and saw that conceited man had worked very hard but not written anything about the true wisdom of his work. He had not understood its meaning at all, and holding that work, which is a source of truths, to consist in meaningless decorations, showed disrespect for it. Therefore, the wise ruler refused his book and expelled the man from his presence.
Then, the ruler looked through the book of the truth-loving, meticulous scholar, and seeing that it was a very beautiful and useful interpretation, a wise and illuminating composition, congratulated him. It was pure wisdom and the one who wrote it was a real scholar, a genuine sage. The other man was an impertinent artificer not knowing his place. Then, he willed that, as reward, for each letter of his work should be given ten pieces of gold out of his inexhaustible treasury.
Now; if you have understood the meaning of the parable, reflect upon its real meaning:
The embellished Qur'an is this artistically fashioned universe. The ruler is the Eternal Sovereign. As for the two men, one represents the line of philosophy and philosophers, the other, the way of the Qur'an and its students. Indeed, the Wise Qur'an is the most exalted expander, a most eloquent translator of this macro-Qur'an of the universe. It is the Criterion, which instructs the jinn and men in the signs of creation Divine laws of the creation and operation of the universe, inscribed by the Pen of Power on the sheets of the universe and pages of time. It looks upon creatures, each of which is a meaningful letter, as bearing the meaning of another, that is, on account of their Maker, and remarks, 'How beautifully they have been made, and how meaningfully they point to the beauty and grace of the Maker.' Thus, it shows the real beauty of the universe. As for philosophy, it is absorbed in the design and decorations of the 'letters' of creation and, in bewilderment; it has lost the way to truth. While it ought to look upon the letters of this macro-book as bearing the meaning of another, that is, on account of their relation to God, it does the reverse. It looks upon them as signifying themselves, and remaks, 'How beautiful they are', not 'How beautifully they have been made! By doing so, it insults the creation and causes it to complain about itself. Truly, materialistic philosophy is a falsehood bearing no truths, and an insult to the creation.
This is a comparison between the moral training which the Wise Qur'an's wisdom affords to man's personal life and that afforded by philosophy:
A sincere student of philosophy is a Pharaoh-like tyrant, but one who abases himself so far as to bow in worship before the meanest thing to serve his interest: That materialist student is also a stubborn, misleading one: unyielding, but so wretched as to accept endless degradation for the sake of a single pleasure; unbending, but so mean as to kiss the feet of devilish people for the sake of some base advantage. That student is conceited and domineering, but since he can find no point of support in his heart, he is an utterly impotent vainglorious tyrant. That student is also self-centred egoist, who strives to gratis' his material, carnal desires and pursues his personal interests after certain national interests.
As for the sincere student of the Wisdom of the Qur'an, he is a worshipping servant of God, but one who does not degrade himself to bow in a worship even before the greatest of the created. He is a dignified servant who does not regard as the goal of worship a thing of even the greatest benefit like Paradise. Also, he is a modest student, one mild and gentle, but he does not lower himself voluntarily before anybody other than his Creator beyond what He has permitted. He is also weak and in want, and aware of his weakness and neediness.' Yet he is independent of others, owing to the wealth and munificence the Infinite Power, of his Master. He acts and strives purely for God's sake, for-God's pleasure4 and to be equipped with virtues.
The training the Qur'an and philosophy give may be understood through this comparison of the two students.
The training philosophy and the Qur'anic wisdom give to human social life is this:
According to philosophy, the point of support in social life is 'force'. The aim is the realization of self- interests. Conflict is the principle of life; Philosophy holds that the bond that unifies communities is racism and negative nationalism. The fruits it gives are the gratification of carnal desires and increase of human needs. Whereas force calls for aggression; seeking self-interests causes fighting for material resources. Conflict brings strife. Racism feeds by swallowing others and therefore paves the way for aggression. Thus, it is for these reasons that mankind have been deprived of happiness.
As for the wisdom of the Qur'an, it accepts 'right', not 'force', as the point of support in social life. It holds, in place of the realization of self-interests, virtues and God's approval as the aim. The principle of mutual assistance is the principle of life it holds to, instead of conflict. It accepts, not racism and negative nationalism, but the ties of religion, profession and country as the bonds between communities. Its aim is to put a barrier against the attacks of lusts and, by urging the soul to sublime matters and satisfying man's exalted feelings, to encourage him towards human perfections and make him a true human being. Right calls for unity. Virtues bring solidarity. The principle of mutual assistance means coming to the aid of one another. Religion secures brotherhood and attraction. Restraining the corporeal self and urging the soul towards perfections, it brings happiness in this world and the next.
If you want to understand why the Qur'an is superior to all the other Divine Scriptures and why it is supreme over all speech and writings, then consider the following two parables:
The first: A king has two forms of speech, two forms of address. One is that he speaks on his private telephone to a common subject regarding some minor matter, some private need. The other is that he speaks, on account of being the supreme sovereign, supreme head of the religious office and the supreme ruler of people, to an envoy or high official of his with the aim of promulgating his commands; he speaks through an exalted decree manifesting his majesty.
The second: A man holds a mirror towards the sun. He receives, according to the capacity of the mirror, light containing the seven colours by which he establishes a connection with the sun. When he directs the light-filled mirror towards his dark house and his roof-covered garden, he will benefit from the sun, not in accordance with the quality of the sun's light, but according to the capacity of the mirror to reflect it
Another man, however, opens up broad windows out of his house or out of the roof of his garden, thus securing the way for a direct benefit from the sun. He gets the light of the sun directly and continuously and speaks to it in gratitude as if to say: '0 fine sun, beauty of the world and beauty of the skies who gild the earth with your light and make the flowers smile! You have furnished my little house and garden with your heat and light the same as you have done for the flowers.' Whereas the man with the mirror cannot speak to the sun like that. He has to be content with the light and heat of the sun reflected by his mirror.
So, look at the Qur'an through the lens of these two parables and see its miraculousness and understand its holiness. The Qur'an declares: 'If all the trees on the earth were to become pens and all the seas ink, and if they were to write the words of Almighty God, they would never finish them.' The reason why the Qur'an has been given the greatest rank among the infinite words of God is this:
The Qur'an has originated in the Greatest Name of God and in the greatest level of every Name. [That is, each Name of God has infinitely different levels of manifestation. For example, the manifestations of the All-Colouring and the All-Decorating in springtime are not the same level as in wintertime.] It is the Word of God on account of His being the Lord of the Worlds. It is God's decree on account of His being the Deity of all creatures. It is a Divine address on account of God's being the Creator of the heavens and the earth. It is a speech of God in regard to His absolute Lordship. It is an eternal address in regard to I-us universal Divine Sovereignty. It is book of the favours of the All-Merciful One from the point of His all-embracing comprehensive Mercy. It is a collection of communications at the beginnings of which are sometimes ciphers in respect of the sublime majesty of His Divinity. It is a wisdom-infusing Holy Scripture which, having originated from the all-comprehensive 'field' of the Greatest Divine Name, looks to and examines the all-embracing domain of the Supreme Throne of God. It is for these reasons that the title of Word of God has been given to the Qur'an as it deserves it perfectly.
As for the other Divine Words, some of them are of the kind of Divine Speech which is manifested for a particular regard under a minor title and through the particular manifestation of a particular Name; it results from a particular manifestation of Divine Lordship, or of Divine Sovereignty, or of Divine Mercy The Divine Words vary in degrees with respect to particularity and universality. Most inspiration is of this kind, but it varies greatly in degrees. For example, the most particular and simple is the inspiration God sends to animals. Then comes the inspiration occurring to ordinary people. Then the inspirations coming to ordinary angels, to saints and to greater angels, respectively. It is for this reason that a saint who offers supplications without mediation directly through the telephone of the heart 'connected to God', says: 'My heart reports to me from my Lord'. He does not say, 'It reports me from the Lord of the Worlds'. Also, he can say, 'My heart is the mirror, the throne, of my Lord'. Never does he say, 'My heart is the throne of the Lord of the Worlds'. This is because a saint can receive of the Divine address according to his capacity and to the degree of how many of the seventy thousand veils between a man and God he has been able to remove.
Thus, just as the decree of a king which he issues on account of his being the supreme sovereign is higher and more exalted than his insignificant conversation with a common man; and just as directly benefiting from the sun in the sky is very much greater than benefiting from its reflection in a mirror; so in the same degree is the Glorious Qur'an superior to all speech and all books. After the Qur'an, at the second level, other Divine Scriptures- Divine Books and Pages - are superior to all other speech and hooks, each according to its own degree. They have their share from the same point of superiority as the Qur'an has. If all the fine words - epigrams, wise sayings - of all men and jinn which do not issue from the Qur'an were to be collected, they still could not attain to the sacred rank of the Qur'an.
If you want to have some understanding of how the Qur'an has originated in the Greatest Name of God and in the greatest level of every Name, consider the universal, sublime statements of Ayat al-Kursi and the following verses:
With Him are the keys of the Unseen... (6.59); O God, Master of the All Kingdom... (3.26);
He covers the day with the right, each pursuing the other urgently... (7.54);
Earth, swallow your water; and heaven abated!.. (11.44);
The seven heavens and the earth, and all within them extol I-Jim... (17.44);
Your creation and your upraising are as but as a single soul.. (31,28);
We offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains... (33.72);
On the day when We shall roll up heaven as a scroll is rolled for books... (21.104);
They measure not God as is due to Him. The earth altogether shall be His handful on the Day of Resurrection... (39.67);
If We had sent down this Qur'an upon a mountain, you would indeed have seen it humbled, split asunder out of the fear of God... (59.21).
Also, meditate upon the initials of the Surahs beginning with al-hamdu li-llah (All praise be to God), or yusabbihu (glorifies Him), and obtain some grasp of this significant fact. Further, look at the openings of the Surahs beginning with Alif Lam Mim, Alif Lam Ra and Ha Mim, and understand the Qur'an's importance in the sight of God Almighty
If you have understood the significant kernel of this Fourth Fundamental, you can understand that revelation mostly came to the prophets by mediation of an angel, and inspiration is mostly without mediation. You will also be able to understand why even the greatest of saints cannot attain to the level of any prophet. You can also understand the Qur'an's grandeur and its sacred glory and honour and the source of its sublime miraculousness. So also you will be able to understand why Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, was honoured with Ascension, why he ascended to the heavens, to the furthest lote-tree, to the distance of only two bow- lengths, offered supplications to the All-Majestic One, Who is closer to man than his jugular vein, and in the twinkling of an eye returned whence he came. Indeed, just as the splitting of the moon was a miracle of Messengership whereby he demonstrated his Prophethood to the jinn and mankind, so too, the Ascension was a miracle of his worship and servitude to God whereby he demonstrated to the spirits and angels that he is the Beloved of God.
O God, bestow blessings and peace upon him and his family as befits Your Mercy and his deserving.