Can you make a comparison between lives with and without belief?
One day a number of bright young people came to me, seeking an effective
deterrent to guard themselves against the danger arising from modern worldly
life, youth, and animal desires. As I had previously told other young people
who sought help from the Risale-i Nur, I also said to them:
Your youth will definitely disappear and if you do not restrict yourselves
within the limits of the lawful, it will be lost. Rather than its pleasures,
it will bring you suffering and calamities in this world, in the grave, and
in the Hereafter. If under the Islamic discipline, you use the blessings of
youth in gratitude, chastely and uprightly, and in worship, it will in effect
remain perpetually and be the cause of gaining eternal youth.
As for life, if it is without belief, or if belief, because of rebelliousness,
is ineffective, it will produce pains, sorrows and grief far exceeding the superficial,
fleeting enjoyment and pleasure it brings. As an intelligent, thinking being,
man is (in contrast to animals) intrinsically connected to the past and the
future, as well as to the present time. He derives both pain and pleasure from
them. Whereas, since the animals do not think, neither the sorrows arising from
the past nor the fears and anxieties concerning the future, spoil their present
pleasure. But if man has fallen into misguidance and heedlessness, sorrows arising
from the past and anxieties about the future, mar his particular pleasure, diluting
it with pains. Especially if it is an illicit pleasure, then it is like an altogether
poisonous honey. This means that, with respect to enjoyments of life, man is
a hundred times lower than the animals. In fact, for the misguided, heedless
people, their whole life and existence, their whole world, consists in the day
in which they find themselves. According to their misguided belief, all of time
past and all past worlds have gone to non-existence. Their intellects, which
connect them to the past and the future, produce darkness for them. Accordingly
with their lack of belief, the future is also non-existent for them. The separations
that become eternal because of this non-existence continually darken their
By contrast, if they build their lives upon belief, then through the light
of belief, both the past and the future will be illuminated and acquire existence.
Like the present time, they provide, through belief, exalted spiritual pleasures
and lights of existence for their spirit and heart.
So, that is how life is. If you desire the pleasure and enjoyment of life,
animate your life with belief, and adorn it with religious obligations. Maintain
it by abstaining from sins. As for the fear-some reality of death, which is
demonstrated by instances of death every day, in every place and time, I shall
explain it to you with a parable in the same way as I explained it to some other
Let us suppose a gallows has been set up here in front of our eyes. Beside
it is a lottery office, one which gives tickets for truly high prizes. We are
here ten people, and willingly or unwillingly, shall certainly be invited there.
They may call us (since the appointed time is unknown) at any moment, and say
either, “Come and mount the gallows for execution!” or “A prize ticket worth
millions of dollars has come up for you; come and collect it!” While we are
waiting for either call, two people suddenly turn up. One of them is a scantily
dressed woman, beautiful and alluring. She holds in her hand and offers some
apparently very delicious, but in fact poisonous, sweets, which she wants us
to eat. The other is an honest, solemn man. He enters behind the woman, and
“I have brought you a talisman, a lesson. If you study it, and if you do
not eat the sweets, you will be saved from the gallows. With this talisman,
you will receive your ticket for the matchless prize. You see with your own
eyes that those who eat the sweets inevitably mount the gallows, and furthermore,
until they mount them, they suffer dreadful stomach pains from the poison of
the sweets. As for those who receive the ticket for the large prize, it seems
that they too mount the gallows. But millions of witnesses testify that they
are not hanged on the gallows, they use them as a step to enter the prize arena
easily. So, look from the windows! The highest officials, the high-ranking persons
concerned with this business announce with loud voices, ‘Just as you see clearly
with your own eyes those mounting the gallows to be hanged, so also know with
utmost certainty that those with the talisman receive the ticket for the prize.’”
As in the parable, the dissolute, religiously forbidden pleasures of youth,
which are like poisonous sweets, are the cause of losing belief—and belief is
the ticket to an eternal treasury and a document for everlasting happiness.
Those who indulge in them are subject to death, which is like the gallows, and
to the tribulations of the grave, which is the door to eternal darkness. The
appointed hour of death is unknown, therefore, its executioner, not differentiating
between young and old, may come at any time to cut off your head. Give up the
religiously forbidden pleasures (which are like the poisonous sweets) and acquire
the Qur’anic talisman (belief and performing religious obligations). One hundred
and twenty-four thousand Prophets, upon them be peace, together with innumerable
saints, have proclaimed that you will get to the treasury of eternal happiness
if you do so. They have also shown the signs and evidences of it.
Youth spent in indulgences
In short: Youth will pass. If it is wasted in indulgences, it results in
thousands of misfortunes and pains both in this world and the next. Perhaps
you want to understand how such youths end up in hospitals with mental and physical
diseases, mainly because of their abuse, and in prisons or hostels for the destitute
as a result of their excesses, and in bars because of the distress provoked
by their spiritual unease. Then, go and inquire at the hospitals, prisons and
For sure you will hear from most of the hospitals the moans and groans of
those ill from dissipation and debauchery resulting from the appetites of youth.
Also you will hear from the prisons the regretful sighs of unhappy wretches,
suffering for illicit actions mostly resulting from the excesses of their youth.
Again, you will come to know this truth as testified by the saints who can discern
the life of the grave, and affirmed by exacting scholars of truth. Most of the
torments of the grave—that Intermediate Realm the doors of which continuously
open and shut for those who enter it—are the result of misspent youth.
Also, ask the old and the sick, who form the majority of mankind. Most certainly
the great majority of them will answer you with grief and regret, “Alas! We
wasted our youth in frivolities, indeed harmfully. Be careful, never do as we
did!” A man subjects himself, for the sake of the illicit pleasures of a short
period of youth, to years of grief and sorrow in this world, torment and harm
in the Intermediate Realm, and the severe punishment of Hell in the Hereafter.
Despite being in a most pitiable situation, he does not deserve pity. For one
who freely consents to indulge in harmful actions is not worthy of pity.
May Almighty God save us and you from the alluring temptations of this age
and preserve us against them. Amen.