S I N C E R I T Y : It is no wonder that Bediuzzaman does instruct: “This Flash should be read at least once a fortnight [two weeks].” In true sincerity there is never any dishonesty, rivalry, or competition as they negate, undermine, and indeed destroy sincerity. A lack of genuine sincerity in the service of the Risale-i Nur is clearly harmful to all and is thus unacceptable. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi discusses four rules of sincerity:
“YOUR FIRST RULE
You should seek Divine pleasure in your actions. If Almighty God is pleased, it is of no importance even should the whole world be displeased. If He accepts an action and everyone else rejects it, it has no effect. Once His pleasure has been gained and He has accepted an action, even if you do not ask it of Him, should He wish it and His wisdom requires it, He will make others accept it. He will make them consent to it too. For this reason, the sole aim in this service should be the direct seeking of Divine pleasure.
YOUR SECOND RULE
This is not to criticize your brothers who are employed in this service of the Qur’an, and not to excite their envy by displaying superior virtues. For just as one of man’s hands cannot compete with the other, neither can one of his eyes criticize the other, nor his tongue object to his ear, nor his heart see his spirit’s faults. Each of his members completes the deficiencies of the others, veils their faults, assists their needs, and helps them out in their duties. Otherwise man’s life would be extinguished, his spirit flee, and his body be dispersed.
YOUR THIRD RULE
You should know that all your strength lies in sincerity and truth. Yes, strength lies in truth and sincerity. … Evidence that strength lies in truth and sincerity is this service of ours. … You should be aware that Hadhrat Ali (May God be pleased with him) and Ghawth al-A’zam (May his mystery be sanctified) honor you with their miraculous wonder-working and wondrous vision of the Unseen because of this mystery of sincerity.
YOUR FOURTH RULE
This is to imagine your brothers’ virtues and merits in your own selves, and to thankfully take pride at their glory. The Sufis have terms they use among themselves, “annihilation in the shaykh,” “annihilation in the Prophet;” I am not a Sufi, but these principles of theirs make a good rule in our way, in the form of “annihilation in the brothers.” Among brothers this is called “tafânî;” that is, “annihilation in one another.” That is to say, to forget the feelings of one’s own carnal soul, and live in one’s mind with one’s brothers’ virtues and feelings. In any event, the basis of our way is brotherhood. It is not the means which is between father and son, or shaykh and follower. It is the means of true brotherhood. At the very most a Master [Ustad] intervenes. Our way is the closest friendship. This friendship necessitates being the closest friend, the most sacrificing companion, the most appreciative comrade, the noblest brother. The essence of this friendship is true sincerity.“
B R O T H E R H O O D : Simply put, brotherhood between all students of the Risale-i Nur, regardless of gender, is our strength, our joy, and our support. Brotherhood is very important to maintain at all times. We refer to our Master Teacher, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, regarding this topic:
“Dispute and discord among the believers, and partisanship, obstinacy and envy, leading to rancor and enmity among them, are repugnant and vile, are harmful and sinful, by the combined testimony of wisdom and the supreme humanity that is Islam, for personal, social, and spiritual life. They are in short, poison for the life of man. We will set forth six of the extremely numerous aspects of this truth.
They are sinful in the view of truth.
They are also sinful in the view of wisdom, for it is obvious that enmity and love are opposites, just like light and darkness; while maintaining their respective essences, they cannot be combined.
In accordance with the meaning of the verse:
No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another, [Quran, 6:164]
which expresses pure justice, to nurture rancor and enmity towards a believer is like condemning all the innocent attributes found in him on account of one criminal attribute, and is hence an act of great injustice.
It is a sin from the point of view of personal life.
Obstinacy and partisanship are extremely harmful in social life.
Spiritual life and correctness of worship will suffer as a result of enmity and rancor, since the purity of intention that is the means of salvation will be damaged. For a biased person will desire superiority over his enemy in the good deeds that he performs and will be unable to act purely for the sake of God. He will also prefer, in his judgment and dealings, the one who takes his side; he will be unable to be just. Thus the purity of intention and the justice that are the bases of all good acts and deeds will be lost on account of enmity and hostility.
Verily God it is Who gives all sustenance, Lord of Power and Steadfast. [Quran, 51:58] How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? It is God Who provides for them and for you; He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [Quran, 29:60]
O people of belief! You will have understood by now how harmful is enmity. Understand too that greed is another awesome disease, as harmful for the life of Islam as enmity. Greed brings about disappointment, deficiency, and humiliation; it is the cause of deprivation and abjection. … Greed demonstrates its evil effects throughout the animate world, from the most universal of species to the most particular of individuals. To seek out one’s sustenance while placing one’s trust in God will, by constrast, bring about tranquillity and demonstrate everywhere its beneficient effects.”
–Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (For more details on Brotherhood, see The Letters, The Twenty-Second Letter and Sincerity And Brotherhood, which includes multiple sources from the Risale-i Nur on Brotherhood.)
R E S P E C T : Thus far, we have understood the necessity for truth, sincerity, and brotherhood. All Risale-i Nur students are expected to maintain high standards of respect to each other and towards themselves. The chain of authority starts with Almighty God followed by our Noble Messenger, and the Companions. We may then continue to follow the chain of respect in the Risale-i Nur as described below:
Our Master Bediuzzaman Said Nursi…his first generation students…his first students’ students (second generation students)…and so on down the chain. [Many sincere students use the Arabic term “saff-i evvel” which refers to those who have come before..or..first comers.]
It is crucially important that we all follow the laws of the country we reside in and honor the rights of other beings with fairness and responsibility, we may not breach any of these under any circumstances. Bediuzzaman was extremely careful and respectful of law and human rights, particularly in preserving public safety and security. As Risale-i Nur students we are each expected to uphold these timeless standards equally as much.
The guidance for all Risale-i Nur students is found in the following words:
“Five principles are necessary, essential, at this strange time in order to save the social life of this country and nation from anarchy: respect, compassion, refraining from what is prohibited (haram), security, the giving up of lawlessness and being obedient to authority. ” –Bediuzzaman
“Our sole concern, within the framework of the laws of the Republic, is for the Risale-i Nur” –Bediuzzaman
The principles which I’ve discussed in this article are vital to the success of the Risale-i Nur service. The responsibility required of every single Risale-i Nur student is to uphold, defend, and thus preserve this great service of the Risale-i Nur. It is of utmost importance that we all encourage new readers, help existing readers, and share and spread Bediuzzaman’s great works, but we must do so within the framework of these above standards set by Ustad Bediuzzaman. Doing so honors and protects the Risale-i Nur Collection itself as well as all things vital in serving the Risale-i Nur including: truth, respect, brotherhood, sincerity, law, human rights and Bediuzzaman’s purpose, hope, and vision for humanity.
May God protect all sincere students of the Risale-i Nur and guide us to the right path and His Mercy; and help us to persevere in this most respected honor of serving the Risale-i Nur and our Ustad, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi.
–Dr. Osman Birgeoglu