Given the transient, fleeting nature of this world, Bediuzzaman invites us to question whether there is any value in us attaching our hearts to the things in this world, write IBRAHIM OKSAS and NAZEEMA AHMED.
IN reflecting on the nature of man’s creation and his relationship with this world, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi addresses this at some length in his contemporary Quranic tafsir, Risale-i Nur. He says that among all of His creation, Allah Almighty created man as the most significant of all of His servants, and made him the most thoughtful and reflective recipient of His glorious address, the All-Wise Quran. He also created man as the most comprehensive mirror to the manifestation of His Most Beautiful Divine Names.
Furthermore, Allah Almighty created man as the most beautiful miracle of His power in the fairest of forms, with the most sublime disposition, and created him in the highest form and character. Allah Almighty then sent man to this world and, through His divine names of the Compassionate, Munificent and Provider, He made this world in the form of a festival. He clothed man’s rooh (spirit) in a body decked out with senses so that man may benefit from the innumerable bounties which He bestows on man in this world.
In drawing our attention to the true nature of this world, Bediuzzaman cites the ayah in Surah Al-An’am (6:32), ‘This worldly life is no more than play and amusement,’ which describes the fleeting nature of this world. Given the transient, fleeting nature of this world, Bediuzzaman invites us to question whether there is any value in us attaching our hearts to the things in this world that will not accompany us after our life in this world comes to an end, and when we embark on our journey to the hereafter.
He advises that in light of the aforementioned reality, we should not give these transient, worldly matters any importance, neither should we feel any grief at their passing. However, we are often captivated by and absorbed in the allure of this world. Bediuzzaman says, however, that in order to lessen our attachment to this world, Allah Almighty, being the Most Merciful, induces in the believer a state of mind and heart whereby he feels an aversion at the world and longs to travel to the eternal realm.
With this state of mind and longing in the heart, the believer is able to depart this world with a tranquil heart. Bediuzzaman then enumerates some aspects which induce this state. He conveys that with the onset of old age, and through witnessing the inevitable decline and impermanence of the alluring and inviting things of this world, a person is induced to seek that which is permanent rather than what is transient.
Since most of the friends to whom a person is attached have departed from this world, that person longs to go to the place where all the friends have gone before, and thus induces in him a state whereby he joyfully anticipates death and the appointed hour. Through understanding and experiencing the burdensome nature of life and its incumbent responsibilities, this arouses in man a sincere need and desire for rest, to go to the hereafter and enter Jannah.
The light of imaan instils in the heart of a believer the conviction that death is simply a change of abode, that the grave is the door to light-filled worlds and that, despite all its glitter, this world is like a prison when compared to the eternal world. Thus, to be released from the prison of this world and to enter the world of rest and the presence of the Most Merciful is a blissful journey that ought to be ardently desired by believers.
A person who heeds the Quran, who absorbs the knowledge of truth and reality it contains and who therefore understands the true nature of this world, will certainly understand just how meaningless it is to have love and attachment to the things of this world. Bediuzzaman then explains the knowledge that a believer should have that induces certainty about the true nature of this world, which results in the lessening of attachment to it.
A believer understands that all the created beings in this world do not point to themselves but indicate the essence, attributes and names of Allah Almighty. Thus, he learns these meanings and is not preoccupied with the decorations in beings. The world is also a place of cultivation for the reaping and preservation of crops for the hereafter. Thus, no importance should be given to things that do not benefit the believer’s hereafter.
This world is also a place of trade for the goods of the eternal realm, thus, only trade beneficial for that realm is worth the attention and effort. This world is also a guesthouse which requires that believers should eat and drink within the limits prescribed by the guesthouse’s Generous Host and they should offer thanks. Believers are also required to act within the parameters of Allah Almighty’s laws. Thus, they will leave this world with ease, having neither preoccupied themselves with worldly matters that do not concern them, nor did they attach themselves to the transitory things of this world.
This world is a temporary exhibition and festival created by Allah Almighty, at which believers should marvel in wonder and utter glorification, and from which we should take lessons that will teach us about the Eternal All-Beauteous One. Bediuzzaman says that the Quran indicates these aforementioned aspects, and our understanding and accepting these realities will make parting from this world desirable for the believers.
At the beginning of this article, we shared Bediuzzaman’s thoughts on the exalted nature of man, and Bediuzzaman concludes his discussion about lessening our attachment to this world by conveying the certainty that since Allah Almighty created man in this manner, He will certainly send the believers to the eternal realm for which they are suited and for which they have an intrinsic longing.
Finally, we make duah that when it is our time to be discharged from the duties of life in this world, Allah Almighty should awaken in our roohs a compelling desire to return to our original home, Insha Allah.