The Nineteenth Word


Muhammad’s Messengership and his matchless character


In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.


I have not praised Muhammad with my words;

Rather, my words are praiseworthy because of him.

Hasan Thabit


This Word consists of 14 droplets. It is the attributes of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, which have made this Word beautiful.

Fourteen droplets

FIRST DROPLET: Three great and universal things make our Lord known to us: the Book of the Universe (explained elsewhere); Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, the Seal of the Prophets, who is the supreme sign in the Book

of the Universe; and the glorious Qur’an. Now we must recognize and listen to the Seal of the Prophets, the second and articulate proof and announcer of God with all His Names and Attributes, His Existence and Unity.

Look at the universal personality of that proof: the earth’s face is his mosque, Mecca his mihrab (niche where he leads his community in the Prayer), and Medina his pulpit. Our Prophet, this illustrious proof, leads all believers and preaches to all people. He is the chief of Prophets, lord of saints, and leader in the remembrance of God of a circle comprising all Prophets and saints. With all Prophets as its roots and saints as its ever fresh fruits, he is a radiant tree. All Prophets, with the support of their miracles, and all saints, depending on their wonders, confirm and corroborate his claims. For he declares: “There is no deity but God”; and all those illustrious ones forming the universal circle of God’s remembrance and lined up in the past and the future repeat the same words in unison, as if to say: “You speak the truth.” What illusion can dispute such an argument confirmed by such countless endorsements?

SECOND DROPLET: Just as this radiant proof of Divine Unity is affirmed by the unanimous consensus of all Prophets and saints, he is confirmed by hundreds of predictions in the revealed Scriptures (e.g., the Torah and the Gospels), thousands of indications of his Prophethood that appeared before his mission, famous reports of voices from the Unseen, the unanimous testimony of soothsayers, his hundreds of miracles (e.g., splitting the moon), and the truth of his Shari‘a (the Law). Similarly, his laudable virtues that reached the utmost degree of perfection; his total confidence in his mission and most excellent qualities in relation to its fulfillment; and his extraordinary awe and consciousness of God, and his matchless worship, serenity, and firmness, all of which show his belief’s strength and his total certainty and complete steadfastness. All of these show as clearly as daylight the truth of his claim and his utmost truthfulness in his cause.

THIRD DROPLET: Let’s imagine that we visit him in the Arabian peninsula while he is performing his mission during the Age of Bliss. We see a person distinguished by the excellence of his character and beauty of his form. In his hand is a miraculous book, and on his tongue a truthful discourse. He is delivering an eternal sermon to humanity, jinn, and angels— indeed, to all beings. He solves and expounds the mystery of the world’s creation; discovers and solves the intricate talisman that is the mystery of the universe; and provides convincing and satisfying answers to life’s great and important questions: Who are you? What is your purpose? Where have you come from? Where are you going? What is your final destination?

FOURTH DROPLET: See! He spreads such a light of truth that, if you look at the universe without the light of his guidance, you see it as a place of general mourning, and beings as alien or even hostile to each other, and inanimate beings as ghastly corpses, and living creatures as orphans weeping under the blows of death and separation. Now see how through the light he spreads, this place of universal mourning has been transformed into a place of invocation where God’s Names and praises are recited in joy and ecstasy. Alien and hostile beings have become friends, as well as brothers and sisters, and dumb, inanimate creatures familiar, obedient officials and docile servants. Weeping, complaining orphans are seen reciting God’s Names and praises or offering thanks for being discharged from their duties.

FIFTH DROPLET: Through this light, all motions, variations, changes and transformations in the universe are no longer regarded as meaningless and futile playthings of chance; rather, they appear in their true form and function. Each is a missive of the universe’s Master, a page inscribed with creation’s signs, a mirror reflecting God’s Names. The world itself is a book of the Eternally Besought One’s Wisdom.

Without this light, humanity’s boundless weakness and helplessness, poverty and neediness cause everyone to fall lower than the animals. Their intellects, by conveying grief, sorrow, and anxiety, make them more wretched. But when they are illumined with this light, they rise above all animals and creatures. Once their intellects are illumined, their poverty and helplessness become means of infinite wealth and power through dependence on God. Through entreaty, they become beloved “kings and queens” and, through complaints and petitions, God’s favored servants entrusted with the honorable duty of improving the earth and ruling it in His name. If this light did not exist, the universe, humanity, and all things would be reduced to nothingness. Indeed, if such a person did not exist in such a wonderful universe, the universe’s existence would not be necessary.

SIXTH DROPLET: That illustrious person announces and brings tidings of eternal happiness, unveils and proclaims God’s infinite Mercy, observes and heralds the beauties of the Realm of the Lord’s Sovereignty, and discloses and shows the Divine Names’ treasuries. If you observe him as a devoted worship per of God, you will see him to be a model of love, an embodiment of mercy, the pride of humanity, and the most illustrious fruit of the Tree of Creation. If you observe him as a Messenger, you will see him to be a proof of God, a lamp of truth, a sun of guidance, and the means of happiness. See how his light has lit up from east to west like dazzling lightning, and half of the globe and one-fifth of humanity have accepted the gift of his guidance and preserved it like their lives. So, why do our evil-commanding souls and devils not accept, with all its degrees, the essence of his mission: There is no deity but God?

SEVENTH DROPLET: Consider how he quickly eradicated his people’s fanatic attachment to their evil and savage customs and immoral qualities, and how he equipped and adorned those disparate, wild, and unyielding peoples of the peninsula with all praiseworthy virtues, making them teachers and masters of the world, especially to the civilized nations. See, it was not an outward domination; rather, he conquered and subjugated minds, spirits, hearts, and souls. He became the beloved of hearts, the teacher of minds, the trainer of souls, and the ruler of spirits.

EIGHTH DROPLET: You know that a small habit like smoking in a small community can be removed permanently only by a powerful government and with great effort. But look! This person quickly removed numerous ingrained habits from large obsessed communities with little outward power and effort. In their place, he implanted and inculcated exalted qualities that became inherent in their being. Many more such miraculous accomplishments can be credited to him. To those who refuse to see the testimony of this blessed age, let them go to the present “civilized” Arabian peninsula with hundreds of philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and pedagogues, and strive for a hundred years. Would they be able to achieve in that period even one hundredth of what he achieved in a year?

NINTH DROPLET: An insignificant person in a small group cannot tell a small but shameful lie in an insignificant disputed matter without showing anxiety and disquiet enough for his or her enemies to remain unaware of it. Now consider this person. Under a supreme mission and a tremendous task, he was addressing the whole humanity and history. Threatened from all sides, he was in dire need of security. Then, can any contradiction be found in what he speaks fearlessly, with great ease and freedom, without hesitation or anxiety, with pure sincerity, great seriousness, and in an intense, elevated manner that irritates his enemies? Can there be any deception here? What he speaks is nothing but Revelation revealed to him (53:4). The truth cannot be deceptive, and one who sees it cannot be deceived. His path, which is pure truth, is free of deception. How could a fancy appear to one who sees the truth to be the truth, and deceive him?

TENTH DROPLET: See what curiosity-arousing, attractive, necessary, and awesome truths he shows and what matters he proves. You know that what incites people most is curiosity. Suppose someone told you: “If you give half of your life and property, someone will come from Mars or Jupiter to tell you about them, your future, and what will happen to you.” If you have any curiosity at all, you would give them. But this person talks of a Monarch in Whose realm the moon flies round a moth like a fly, the moth (the earth) flutters round a lamp, and the lamp (the sun) is merely one of thousands of lamps in one of thousands of guest-houses belonging to that Monarch. He also speaks truly of so wonderful a world and predicts such a revolution that if the earth was a bomb and exploded, it would not be all that strange.

Listen to the suras he recites, which begin with: When the sun is folded up (81:1), When the heaven is cleft open (82:1), and The sudden, mighty strike (101:1). Furthermore, he speaks truly of such a future that the future in this world is, in relation to it, like a trifling mirage. He informs us most solemnly of such happiness that all worldly happiness is like a flash of lightning in comparison to an eternal sun.

ELEVENTH DROPLET: Extraordinary wonders await us under the apparent veil of this wondrous and perplexing universe. So we need a wonderful and miracle-working being to communicate and explain these wonders to us. It is apparent from this person’s conduct that he has seen and sees them, and tells us what he sees, and teaches us accurately what the One God of those heavens and the earth, Who nourishes us with His bounties, wants of us and what pleases Him. While we should therefore put everything else aside and run to this person who instructs us in such matters, what ails most people that they are so deaf, blind, and mad that they do not see, hear, or understand this truth?

TWELFTH DROPLET: As well as being an articulate proof, so true evidence of the Oneness of the Creator of all beings as the truth of His Oneness, this person is a decisive and clear proof of the resurrection of the dead and eternal happiness. Just as through his guidance he is the reason for eternal happiness coming about and the means of gaining it, so through his prayers and supplications he is the cause of its existence and the means of its creation.

See! He is making his petition during such a supreme, comprehensive Prayer (Salah) that it is as if the whole Arabian peninsula, even the whole the earth, joins in the service and, via his sublime prayer, makes its petitions. He is entreating amid so vast a congregation that it is as if all illustrious people of perfection, regardless of time, are following him and saying “Amin” to his supplications. He is imploring on behalf of so universal a need that not only the earth’s inhabitants, but also those of the heavens and all beings, join his prayer and declare: “Yes, O Master, grant this, for we also desire it.” He supplicates so needily and so touchingly, in such a loving, longing, and entreating fashion, that he brings the whole universe to tears and causes it to join in his prayer.

He also prays for such a goal and purpose that it elevates humanity and the world, even all of creation, from the lowest depth, humiliation, worthlessness, and uselessness to the highest rank of having value, permanence, and sublime duties. In a manner so elevated and help-seeking, so sweet and mercy-imploring, does he make his supplication and petition that it is as if all beings, the heavens, and the Divine Supreme Throne hear, and entering a state of ecstasy, are made to exclaim: “Amin, O God, Amin!”

See! He begs his needs from so Powerful a Being, All-Hearing and All Generous, from so All-Knowing a Being, All-Seeing and All-Merciful, that He sees the most hidden living being’s most secret need, and hears and accepts its pleas, and has mercy on that being. He provides its need, even though this being asks for it via the tongue of its particular disposition, and He gives it in so wise, seeing, and compassionate a form that it leaves no doubt that this provision and arrangement pertain only to an All-Hearing and All-Seeing One, One Most Generous and Most Merciful.

THIRTEENTH DROPLET: What does he want, this pride of humanity, this unique being and glory of all beings, who, standing on the earth with all eminent people behind him and with hands upraised, prays so intently? Listen. He is seeking eternal happiness and eternal life, to meet with God and enter Paradise. He wants all these through all the Sacred Divine Names, Which display their beauty and operations in the mirrors of all beings.

Even, were it not for the innumerable causes such as Mercy, Grace, Wisdom, and Justice for the fulfillment of that request, one of his prayers would have sufficed for building Paradise, which is as easy for Divine Power as creating spring. Just as his Messengership was the cause for opening this place of trial, so too his worship and servanthood to God is the cause for opening the next world.

Would the universe’s perfect order, which causes the wise and reflective to say [to express the perfection and beauty of the universe]: “It is not possible for the universe to be more original and wonderful than it is,” as well as the flawless beauty of art contained in His Mercy and the matchless beauty of His Lordship, —would these allow the ugliness, mercilessness, and disorder that the Owner of this order, beauty and mercy, Who hears and responds to the least significant, the least important desires and voices, refuses the most important and most necessary desires? God forbid! Such a beauty and mercy would not allow such an ugliness and themselves become ugly.

So, my friend, that is enough for now. Even if we stayed there for a hundred years, we would not comprehend fully even one-hundredth of this per son’s marvelous and remarkable acts, and never tire of watching him. So, let’s look at each century during our return. See how each has bloomed fully via the flow of light it received from that Sun of Guidance. Each one has yielded thousands of such illustrious fruits as Abu Hanifa, ash-Shafi‘i, Bayazid al Bistami, ‘Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani, Shah Naqshband, Imam Ghazzali, and Imam Rabbani. Postponing the details of our observations, we should invoke blessings on that worker of miracles and bringer of guidance, which refer to some of his certain miracles:

Upon him who was sent the Wise Criterion of Truth (the Qur’an) by the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate One, from the Supreme Throne—our master Muhammad—upon him be peace and blessings thousands and thousands of times, to the number of the good deeds of his Community.

Upon him whose Messengership was foretold by the Torah, the Gospels, and the Psalms; whose Prophethood was predicted by wonderful signs that appeared prior to his Prophethood, by the voices of jinn, saints, and soothsayers; and at whose gesture the moon split— our master Muhammad—peace and blessings thousands and thousands of times, to the number of the breaths of his Community.

Upon him at whose beckoning came the trees; by whose prayer rain fell swiftly; whom the cloud shaded from the heat; with a dish of whose food hundreds of people were satisfied; from whose fingers water three times flowed out like the Spring of Kawthar; and to whom God made speak the lizard, gazelle, wolf, camel, mountain, rock, pole, and clod of soil; the one who made the Ascension (Mi‘raj) and “whose eye did not waver”—our master and intercessor Muhammad—upon him be peace and blessings thousands and thousands of times, to the number of the letters (of the Qur’an) formed in the words represented with the All-Merciful’s permission in the mirrors of the airwaves at the reciting of all the Qur’an’s words by all reciters from the beginning of Revelation until the end of time. Forgive us and have mercy upon us, O God, for the sake of each of those blessings. Amin.

FOURTEENTH DROPLET: The wise Qur’an, the treasury of miracles and itself a supreme miracle, proves his Prophethood and God’s Oneness so decisively that there is no need for further proof. Now we will give its definition and refer to one or two lights of its miraculousness that have been criticized.

The wise Qur’an, which makes our Master known to us, is the eternal translator of the great Book of the Universe; the discloser of the treasuries of the Divine Names hidden in the pages of the earth and the heavens; the key to the truths lying behind events; the treasury of the All-Merciful’s favors and the eternal addresses coming from the Unseen beyond the veil of this visible world; the sun of Islam’s spiritual and intellectual world, as well as its foundation and plan, and the map of the worlds of the Hereafter; the distinct expounder, lucid interpreter, articulate proof, and clear translator of Divine Essence, Attributes and essential Qualities; the educator, true wisdom, guide, and leader of the world of humanity; it is both a book of wisdom and law, and a book of prayer and worship, and a book of command and call to God, and a book of invocation and knowledge of God. It contains books for all of humanity’s spiritual needs, and is like a sacred library offering booklets from which all saints, eminently truthful people, and all purified and discerning scholars have derived their own specific ways.

Consider the light of miraculousness in its reiterations, which are imagined to be a fault. Since the Qur’an is a book of invocation and prayer, a book of calls or invitations [to accept its eternal truths and gain eternal happiness], reiteration is a desirable and most necessary and beautiful instance of eloquence. The invocation of God requires reiteration to impress and enlighten hearts. Through repetition, prayer acquires and gives strength to hearts, and becomes ingrained therein. Commands and calls need restatement to be confirmed and enforced.

Not everyone can read the whole Qur’an whenever they want; usually they can read only one sura (chapter). This is why its most important purposes are reiterated in most of the longer chapters, each of which there by can serve as a small Qur’an. Certain purposes and themes like Divine Unity, Resurrection, and the story of Moses are repeated so that no one is deprived of their benefits. Also, spiritual tastes and needs vary like bodily ones. We need some of them at every breath. Just as the body needs air, the spirit needs Hu–Huwa (He–God). We need some others every hour, like Bismillah (In the Name of God). And so on. The reiteration of verses therefore arises from the recurrence of needs. The Qur’an reiterates to point out those needs, to make them deeply felt, and to stir our desire to satisfy them.

Furthermore, in its role as a founder, the Qur’an is the basis of a manifest religion and the foundation of the Islamic world. It came to change human social life and answer the recurring questions and needs of various classes of human society. A founder uses repetition to affirm, and reiteration to emphasize. A new establishment requires confirmation and strengthening, and therefore repetition.

The Qur’an speaks of such important matters and subtle truths that reiteration in different contexts is necessary to impress their different aspects on people’s minds and hearts. However, such repetitions are merely apparent, for in reality each verse has manifold meanings, numerous benefits, and many aspects and levels. In each place, the words or verses occur in a different way and context, for a different meaning, purpose, and benefit.

Also, the Qur’an mentions certain cosmological matters in a concise, allusive way. This method cannot be criticized, for it is another light of its miraculousness in its role as the guide of humanity.

Question: Why does the Qur’an not speak of beings in the same way as science and materialistic or naturalistic philosophy? It mentions some matters briefly, and others in an apparently simple and superficial way that everyone can understand them easily.

Answer: Scientism and materialistic philosophy have strayed from the path of truth. As the Qur’an is not a science book, why should it elaborate on cosmological matters? It mentions certain facts of creation to make known the Divine Essence, Attributes, and Names. It explains the meaning of the Book of the Universe to make known its Creator. Therefore it considers creation not for its own sake but for the sake of knowledge of its Creator. Science, which considers creation only for its own sake, usually addresses scientists. The Qur’an, however, addresses all humanity. Since it uses creation as evidence and proof to guide humanity, most of whom are common people, its evidence should be easily understandable. Guidance requires that unimportant things only be touched upon, and that subtle points be made understandable via parables. So as not to mislead people, it should not change what they consider obvious so that such information becomes useless or harmful.

For example, the Qur’an calls the sun “a moving lamp.” It does not mention the sun for its own sake but because it is the “mainstay” of the order and the center of the universe’s system, and order and system are two ways of learning about the Creator. By saying: And the sun runs its course (36:38), it suggests the well-ordered disposition of Divine Power in the revolutions of the seasons, day and night, and so implies the Maker’s majesty. Whatever the reality of this running is does not harm the intended meaning, which is the observed order woven into the universe’s structure.

The Qur’an also says: And He has made the sun as a lamp (71:16). By depicting the sun as a lamp, the Qur’an reminds people that the world is like a palace the contents of which are decorations, provisions, and other necessities prepared for humanity and other living creatures, with the sun being a lamp to illuminate it. Thus, it implies the Creator’s Mercy and Bounty.

Now consider how science and materialistic philosophy deal with the sun: “The sun is an enormous mass of burning gases. It causes the planets, which have been flung off from it, to revolve around it. It is of such and such size and is of such and such qualities...” Such a description gives no perfection of knowledge to the spirit, but only a terrible dread and bewilderment. It also approaches the matter in a way different from that of the Qur’an.

From this comparison, you can judge the value of the merely scientific and philosophical way of thinking, which is outwardly splendid but inwardly hollow. So do not be taken in by the outward worth of scientific descriptions and disrespect the most miraculous style of the Qur’an.

O God! Make of the Qur’an for us and for all who copy it a cure for all our sickness, a companion to us and to them in life and after death, a friend in the world, an intimate one in the grave, an intercessor on the Day of Judgment, a light on the (Bridge of) Sirat, a veil and a screen from Hellfire, a friend in Paradise, and a guide and a leader to all good deeds, by Your Grace, Generosity, Munificence, and Mercy, O Most Munificent of the Munificent and Most Merciful of the Merciful. Amin.

O God! Bestow blessings and peace on him to whom You sent the wise Qur’an, the Criterion of Truth and Falsehood, and on all his Family and Companions. Amin.

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi