As for the sincere, wholehearted student of the Qur’an, he is a worshipping servant. But he is an esteemed servant who does not stoop to bow in worship before even the mightiest of creatures, and does not make the supreme benefit of Paradise the aim of his worship. And he is mild and gentle, but at the same time noble and gracious and lowers himself before none but the All-Glorious Creator, and only stoops before the lowly with His permission and at His command. And he is needy, but due to the reward his All-Generous Owner is storing up for him in the future, he is at the same time self-sufficient. And he is weak, but he is strong in his weakness for he relies on the strength of his Lord whose power is infinite. Would the Qur’an make its true student take this fleeting, transient world as his aim and purpose while not making him have even eternal Paradise as his goal? Thus you can understand how the two students’ aims and endeavours differ from one another.
You can further compare the zeal and self-sacrifice of the All-Wise Qur’an’s students with the pupils of sick philosophy as follows:
The student of philosophy flees from his brother for his own sake and a files a lawsuit against him. Whereas, looking on all the righteous worshippers in the heavens and on the earth as brothers, the Qur’an’s student makes supplication for them in sincere fashion. He is happy at their happiness and he feels a powerful connection with them in his spirit, so that praying he says: “Oh Allah, grant forgiveness to all believing men and women!” Furthermore, he considers the greatest things, the divine throne and the sun, to be subservient officials, and servants and creatures like himself.
Also, compare in the following the loftiness and expansion of spirit of the two students: the Qur’an imparts such a joyous elevation to its students’ spirits that instead of the ninety-nine prayer-beads, it places in their hands the minute particles of ninety-nine worlds displaying the manifestations of the ninety-nine divine names, and tells them to recite their invocations with them. Listen to the invocations of such students of the Qur’an as Shah Geylani, Rufa’i, and Shazali (May Allah be pleased with them)! See, in their fingers are the strings of particles, the droplets of water, the breaths of all creatures, and recite their invocations with them. They praise and glorify God with them and mention His most beautiful names.
Behold the miraculous instruction of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition and see how man is elevated by it – insignificant man who is stunned and confused at some minor grief or tiny sorrow and is defeated by a microscopic germ. How his inner senses expand so that the beings in the mighty world appear inadequate as prayer-beads for his invocations. He considers Paradise to be insufficient as the aim of his invocations and recitations of the divine names, yet he does not see himself as superior to the lowest of Almighty Allah’s creatures. He combines the utmost dignity with the utmost humility. You can see from this how abject and base are philosophy’s students.
Thus, the guidance of the Qur’an – which looks at the two worlds with two shining eyes familiar with the Unseen and points with two hands to the two happiness for mankind – says concerning the truths which the one-eyed genius proceeding from the sick philosophy of Europe sees wrongly:
O man! The self and property you hold is not yours; it is in trust to you. The owner of the trust is an All-Compassionate and Munificent One, powerful over all things and with knowledge of all things. He wants to buy from you the property you hold so that He can guard it for you and it will not be lost. He will give you a good price for it in the future. You are a soldier under orders and charged with duties. Work in His name and act on His account, for He sends you the things you need as sustenance and protects you from the things you are unable to bear. The aim and result of this life of yours is to manifest your Owner’s names and attributes. When a calamity comes your way, say:
To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.(2:156)
That is to say, “I am in the service of my Owner, O calamity! If you have come with His permission and consent, greetings, you are welcome! For anyway some time we shall return to Him and enter His presence, and we yearn for Him. Since He will release us from the responsibilities of life, let the release and discharge be at your hand, O calamity, I consent to it. But if He has decreed your coming as a trial for my dutifulness and loyalty in preserving my trust, then without His permission and consent to surrender it to you, so long as I have the power, I will not surrender my Owner’s trust to one not certainly charged to receive it.”
Consider this one example out of a thousand and see the degrees in the instruction given by the genius of philosophy and guidance of the Qur’an. In reality, the two sides proceed in the manner described above, but the degrees of people in guidance and misguidance differ, and the degrees of heedlessness differ. Not everyone can perceive completely this truth in every degree, because heedlessness numbs the senses. In the present age it has so deadened them that the civilized do not feel this grievous pain and suffering. However, sensitivity is increasing and rending the veil of heedlessness due to developments in science and the warnings of death which every day displays thirty thousand corpses. Utter abhorrence and a thousand regrets should be felt for those who take the way of misguidance due to the Europeans’ idols and the natural sciences, and for those who follow them in blind imitation!
O sons of this land! Do not try to imitate Europeans! How can you reasonably trust in and follow the vice and invalid, worthless thought of Europe after the boundless tyranny and enmity it has shown you? No! No! You who imitate them in dissoluteness, are not following them but unconsciously joining their ranks and putting to death both yourselves and your brothers. Know that the more you follow them in immorality the more you lie in claiming to be patriots! Because to follow them in this way is to hold your nation in contempt, to hold the nation up to ridicule!
Allah guides us, and you, to the Straight Path.
From The Risale-i Nur Collection