5- Worship And The Prayers by Ustad Bediüzzaman Said Nursi r.a (1873-1960)
The Companions’ Worship from
The Twenty-Seventh Word
One time, it occurred to me, why could wondrous individuals like Muhyiddin al-‘Arabi not attain to the levels of the Companions? Then, while saying, “Glory be to my Sustainer, the Most High” during the prayers, the meaning of the phrase was unfolded to me. Not in its complete meaning, but its reality in part became apparent to me. I said in my heart: “If only I could perform one of the five daily prayers in the same way as this phrase, it would be better than a year’s worship.” After the prayers I understood that that thought and state was guidance indicating that the Companions’ degree in worship could not be reached. In that mighty social revolution brought about by the lights of the Qur’an, while opposites were separated from one another, and evils together with all their darkness, details and all who followed them, and good and perfections together with all their lights and results came face to face — at such an exciting time, all glorifications of God and recitations of His Names expressed all the levels of their meanings freshly and newly and in a young and unfaded fash-ion. So too, under the crashing of that mighty revolution all the senses and subtle inner faculties of people were awakened, even senses like those of fancy and imagination, in an awakened and aware state, received the numerous meanings of those recitations and glorifications in accordance with their own perceptions, and absorbed them.
Thus, due to this wisdom, when the Companions, whose senses were awakened and subtle faculties, alert, uttered those blessed words comprising the lights of belief and glorification, they did so in all their meaning and they partook of them with all their senses. However, after that revolution and upheaval, the subtle faculties have gradually sunk into sleep and the senses fallen from that point of realities into heedlessness; like fruits, under the veil of familiarity, those blessed words have gradually lost their delicacy and freshness. Simply, as though drying up through the air of superficiality, only a little freshness remains, and this may be restored to its former state only through drastic surgery of a reflective and reasoning kind. Thus, it is because of this that another can reach the virtue and level the Companions attained to in forty minutes, only in forty years.
The Twenty-Ninth Letter
Ishall recount a luminous experience and true vision I had in order to illuminate this meaning. It was as follows: At one time I was pondering over the use of the first person plural in the verse You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help,(\A) and my heart was seeking the reason why the first person singular had been been transposed into the first person plural of “we woT$hip”(na’budu). Suddenly from that “Nūn” the mystery and virtues of performing the prayers in congregation was unfolded to me. I saw that my participating in the congregation in Bayezid Mosque, where I was performing the prayer, made each member of the congregation a sort of intercessor for me, who testified to and affirmed each of the statements I pronounced in reciting the prayers. In the midst of the great, multiple worship of the congregation, I received the courage to offer my deficient worship to the Divine Court. Then a further veil was lifted. That is, all the mosques of Istanbul were added. The city became like Beyazid Mosque. Suddenly I felt as though I was receiving their prayers and affirmation. Then within that. I saw myself in the mosque of the face of the earth, in the circular rows around the Ka’ba. I declared: “All praise be to God. the Sustainer of All the Worlds!” I have intercessors to this great number; they say exactly the same words as I say in the prayers, confirming me. Since this veil was raised by the imagination, the Noble Ka’ba became like the mihrab. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I called on the ranks of the congregation to testify and entrusted the interpreter of belief, “I testify that there is no god but God, and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God” to the Black Stone. While saying this, a further situation was laid open before me: I saw that the congregation of which 1 was a part was separated into three circles:
The First Circle was the vast congregation of believers and those who affirm Divine Unity on the face of the earth.
The Second Circle: I looked and saw that I was part of a congregation consisting of all beings, all of which, performing prayers and glorification, were occupied with the benedictions and glorification particular to its group and species. Their worship consists of the activities we observe, called “the duties of things.” Declaring: “God is Most Great!” before this, I bowed my head in wonderment, and looked at myself:
Within a Third Circle I saw an astonishing microcosm which was apparently and in quality small, but in reality, number, and duties, great. This, from the particles of my being to my external senses was a congregation in which every group was occupied with duties of worship and thanks. In this circle, the dominical inner faculty in my heart was saying: “You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help” in the name of the congregation. Just as in the two former congregations my tongue had said it. having formed the intention to say it in their names.
In Short: The ‘Nūn’ of ‘na’budu’ indicates these three congregations. While pondering over this, the collective personality of God’s Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace), the Interpreter and Herald of the All-Wise Qur’an, was suddenly embodied in all its majesty in his immaterial pulpit in Madina. Like everyone, I as though heard his address of “O you people! Worship your Sustainer, “(2:21) and everyone in those three congregations responded like me. saying, “You alone do we worship.” In accordance with the rule. “When something is established, it is so through the things that necessitate it,” the following truth was imparted to my mind:
Taking mankind as His addressee, the Sustainer of All the Worlds speaks with all beings, and His Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) conveys that lofty address to mankind, indeed, to all beings with spirits and consciousness. All the past and the future have become like the present; the address is being delivered to mankind, all of which is in a single gathering, in the form of a congregation the rows of which all differ. I then saw that each Qur’anic verse possesses an elevated power, eloquence, and beauty which it had received from the grandeur and compass of its station, its extremely numerous, various, and significant addressees, from the Pre-Eternal Speaker, the One of infinite glory and grandeur, and from its exalted Interpreter, who is at the rank of God’s beloved; I saw each verse within a brilliant, truly brilliant, light of miraculousness. Then, not the whole Qur’an, or a Sura, or a verse, but each of its words seemed a miracle. “All praise be to God for the light of belief and the Qur’an,” I said. And I emerged from my imagining, which was pure reality, the same as I had entered the ‘Nun’ of ‘na’budu,’ and I understood that not only the Qur’an’s verses and words, but some of its letters, like the ‘Nūn’ of ‘na’budu,’ were luminous keys to important truths.
After my heart and imagination had emerged from the ‘Nūn’ of ‘na’budu,’ my mind came forward and said: “I want my share too. I cannot fly like you; my feet are evidences and proofs. The way leading to the Creator, the Worshipped One and One from Whom help is sought, has to be pointed out in the same ‘na’budu’ and ‘nasta’īn’ [You alone do wwe worship and from You alone do we seek help], so that I can accompany you.” It then occurred to
my heart to say the following to my bewildered mind:
Consider all the beings in the universe; whether living or inanimate, in perfect order and obedience they all have their worship which is in the form of duties. Although some of them lack feelings and intelligence, they perform their duties in most conscious, orderly, and worshipful fashion. That means there is a True Object of Worship, an Absolute Commander, Who impels them to worship and employs them.
Also consider the beings and particularly the living ones; while each has extremely numerous and various needs, which have to be met for its continued existence, its hands cannot reach the smallest of them; its power is insufficient. Yet they all receive their innumerable needs regularly, from unexpected places, at the appropriate time; this is clearly to be seen.
Thus, these boundless needs and this boundless want of beings and that extraordinary assistance from the Unseen and merciful succour self-evidently demonstrate that they have a Protector and Provider Who possesses absolute riches, is Absolutely Generous and Absolutely Powerful; it is from Him that everything and all living beings seek help and await succour, in effect saying: From You alone do we seek help. So then my mind declared: “We believe in this and assent to it!”