The Ninth Matter: Why does the denial of a truth of belief amount to unbelief?
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and so do the believers; each one believes in God, and His angels, and His Books, and His Messengers: “We make no distinction between any of His Messengers (in believing in them).” (….To the end of the verse) (2:285)
An awesome question and a state of mind that arises from the unfolding of a vast Divine favor have led me to explain a lengthy, universal point concerning this comprehensive, elevated, and sublime verse.
IT WAS ASKED: While belief in God and the Hereafter must, like the sun, remove all darkness of unbelief, why is it that if one denies one of the truths of belief, they are deemed to be an unbeliever? Why, if they do not accept that particular truth, are they considered not to be a Muslim? Moreover, why is it that a person who denies one of the pillars and truths of belief is deemed an apostate, one who has fallen into absolute unbelief and who has left the community of Islam? Surely their belief in the other pillars must save them from absolute unbelief?
THE ANSWER: Belief is a single, united truth composed of six pillars: it cannot be divided up. It is something universal that cannot be separated into parts: it is an indivisible whole. For each of the pillars of belief proves and establishes the other pillars with the proofs that prove and establish it. They are all supremely powerful proofs of one another. Since this is so, one invalid notion that cannot shake all of the pillars together with all their proofs cannot in reality invalidate a single one of those pillars or even a single truth; it cannot deny them. One can only shut their eyes purposefully under the veil of only non-acceptance—not utter rejection—and commit a kind of unbelief that stems from sheer obstinacy. However, they would fall into absolute unbelief by degrees: as a result, their humanity would be destroyed and both their body and spirit would be dispatched to Hell. So in this context, with God’s grace, we will explain this supreme matter in Six Points in the form of brief summaries and conclusions.
THE FIRST POINT: Belief in God establishes, with its own proofs, all of the other pillars and belief in the Hereafter, as has been clearly shown in The Seventh Matter of Fruits of Belief. We clearly see that a pre-eternal and everlasting sovereignty of Lordship, an eternal Divine rule, governs the boundless universe and all it contains as though it were a palace, a city, or a country. This Sovereignty makes the globe of the earth revolve in a balanced and orderly fashion, changing it with innumerable instances of wisdom, and equips and directs atoms, planets, flies, and stars all together as though each were a well-disciplined, well-organized army; It continuously drills them and impels them to act, travel, and carry out various duties by His Command and Will as though they were engaged in sublime maneuvers or a worshipful parade. Is it then possible at all that this eternal, perpetual, enduring Sovereignty would not have an eternal locus or everlasting place of manifestation, namely the Hereafter? God forbid! This means the Sovereignty of God Almighty’s Lordship and—as described in The Seventh Matter—most of His Names and the proofs of His absolutely necessary Existence all require the Hereafter and testify to it. So see and understand what a powerful support this pillar of belief has and believe in it as though you could see it!
Also, just as belief in God is not possible without belief in the Hereafter, it is neither possible without belief in His Messengers and Books. For in order to manifest His Divinity and to show that He has the exclusive right to be worshipped, God, the All-Worshipped One, has created the universe as an embodied book which demonstrates that its Creator is the Eternally Besought One. Every page of this book is in itself a smaller book full of meanings, and every line a page filled with wisdom. This book is like such an embodied Qur’an that it is filled with endless creational “verses” and words, with points and letters, each of which is a miracle. It is like a magnificent mosque of Mercy, the interior of which is decorated with innumerable inscriptions and adornments, and in every corner of which are species of beings each preoccupied with the worship dictated by its nature and the Divine purposes of its existence. Is it then at all possible that God, the All-Worshipped One, should create the universe in this way and not send masters to teach the meanings of this vast book? Is it at all likely that He should fail to task commentators with the interpretation of the verses of that vast “Qur’an,” which shows that it is the work of the Eternally Besought One? Is it at all possible that He should not appoint imams to lead all those who are worshipping in numerous ways in this huge mosque, or that He should not give Decrees—the Divine Scriptures or Books—to those masters, commentators, and leaders of worship? God forbid, a hundred thousand times!
Also, in order to display to conscious beings the beauty of His Mercy, the excellence of His Compassion and the perfection of His Lordship so that He may encourage them to praise and thank Him, the All-Compassionate and All-Munificent Maker has created the universe as a banqueting hall, an exhibition centre, and a place of excursion, in which are arranged infinite varieties of delicious bounties and priceless, wonderful arts. So, is it at all possible that He would not speak to these conscious beings at the banquet or fail to inform them through His Messengers of their duties of thanks for the favors He has given them, and their duties of worship in response to the manifestations of His Mercy and His making Himself loved? God forbid, a thousand times over!
Also, the Maker loves His Art and wants it to be loved. As is indicated, for example, by His taking into account the thousand pleasures to be had by the human mouth, He wants His Artistry to be met with appreciation and approval. And so He has adorned the universe with priceless arts and displayed throughout the universe the traces of His transcendent Beauty in such a way that it becomes clear that He wills to make Himself both known and loved. Is it possible, then, that such a Maker would not speak to humanity, the commander of living beings in the universe, through some of the most eminent people whom He has sent as Messengers? Is it at all likely that His fine arts should remain unappreciated and the extraordinary beauty of His Names unvalued? Is it all likely that there should be no response to those Acts of His Which are designed to make Him known and loved? God forbid, a hundred thousand times!
Also, through His infinite bounties and gifts, which indicate purpose, choice, and will, the All-Knowing Speaker answers clearly and at exactly the right time all of the supplications made by living beings for their natural needs, together with all the requests they make through the tongues of their innate disposition. Is it possible, then, that He should speak to the most insignificant living creature and address their most trivial needs, yet fail or refuse to speak to the spiritual leaders of humankind, the choicest of His creations, the one who has stewardship over creation and enjoys the position given to them of commander over most creatures on earth? Given that He speaks to all other living beings, should He not speak to humans and send them His Decrees— the Divine Scriptures or Books? God forbid that this should be so!
Thus, with its certainty and its innumerable proofs, belief in God proves and establishes belief in the Prophets and the sacred Books or Scriptures.
In response to the One Who makes Himself known and loved through all His artifacts, and Who wills and orders that He be thanked, Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, knew Him and made Him known, loved Him and made Him loved, thanked Him and inspired others to thank Him too; he did all of these in the most perfect way through the truth of the Qur’an, which causes the universe to resonate. Also, with his declarations of “All-Glorified is God!” “All praise and gratitude are for God!” and “God is the All-Great!” Prophet Muhammad caused the earth to ring out, echoing through the heavens and bringing the land and sea to heights of ecstasy. Furthermore, for fourteen centuries Prophet Muhammad has led half of the globe or a fourth of humankind, responding to all the manifestations of the Creator’s Lordship with extensive, universal worship, and to His Divine purposes by announcing and teaching the messages of the Qur’an to the universe and through the centuries. Thus Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, demonstrated the honor, value, and duties of humankind and was himself confirmed by the Creator through his countless miracles. Is it at all then possible that Prophet Muhammad, who is so worthy in God’s sight, should not have been the choicest of God’s creatures, the most excellent of envoys, and the greatest Messenger? God forbid! A hundred thousand times, God forbid!
Thus with all its proofs, the truth of “I bear witness that there is no deity but God” proves and establishes the truth of “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”
Also, is it at all possible that the Maker of the universe should cause creatures to speak to one another in myriad tongues, that He should understand and hear their speech, but that He Himself should remain silent? God forbid!
Also, is it at all reasonable that He should not proclaim His purposes and instances of wisdom in the universe through some kind of decree? Is it at all possible that He would not send a book like the Qur’an, which solves the riddle of the universe and provides true answers to the three awesome questions asked by all souls, namely: “Where do creatures come from?”,
“Where are they going?”, and “Why do they follow on, convoy after convoy, stopping for a while and then pass on?” God forbid!
The miraculous Qur’an has illuminated fourteen centuries of human history. It circulates every hour through hundreds of millions of respectful tongues and is inscribed with its sacredness in the hearts of the millions of those who commit it to memory. Through its laws it governs a considerable part of humankind, educating, purifying, and instructing their souls, spirits, hearts, and minds. As demonstrated in certain parts of the Risale-i Nur, the Qur’an has forty aspects of miraculousness. It is explained in The Nineteenth Letter that through each of these aspects the Qur’an addresses a different class or level of humankind. Moreover, Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, who is himself a miracle of the Qur’an, proves decisively through his numerous miracles that the Qur’an is the Word of God. Is it then at all possible that this miraculous Qur’an should not be the Word and Decree of the Eternal Speaker and the All-Permanent Maker? God forbid! A hundred thousand times, God forbid!
That is to say, with all its proofs, belief in God proves and establishes that the Qur’an is the Word of God.
Also, is it all possible that the All-Majestic Ruler, Who continuously fills and empties the earth with living beings and populates this world of ours with conscious creatures in order to make Himself known, worshipped, and glorified—it is possible that He should leave the heavens and stars empty and vacant, without creating inhabitants appropriate to them and settling them in these lofty palaces; is it possible that in His most extensive lands He should leave the sovereignty of His Lordship without servants, majesty, officials, envoys, lieutenants, supervisors, spectators, worshippers, or subjects? God forbid! To the numbers of the angels, God forbid!
Also, the All-Wise Ruler, the All-Knowing, and the All-Compassionate One, has written the universe in the form of a book; He inscribes the entire life-stories of trees and the life-duties of grasses and plants in their seeds. He has the lives of conscious beings recorded precisely in their memories, which are as tiny as mustard seeds; He preserves with innumerable photographs all the actions and events which occur in all His dominions and in all the spheres of His Sovereignty. He creates mighty Paradise and Hell, the Supreme Bridge, and the Supreme Scales of Justice in order to allow for the manifestation and realization of absolute justice, wisdom, and mercy, which are among the most significant foundations of His Lordship. Is it at all possible that the One Who does all this should not have all the acts of humankind relating to the universe recorded? Is it possible that He would not have their deeds recorded so that they may be rewarded or punished, nor write their good and bad deeds on the tablets of Divine Destiny? God forbid! To the number of letters inscribed on the Supreme Tablet of Divine Determining or Destiny, God forbid!
Thus the truth of belief in God proves and establishes the truth of both belief in the angels and belief in Divine Determining or Destiny. The pillars of belief prove and establish each other as clearly as the sun shows the daylight and daylight shows the sun.
THE SECOND POINT: All the claims made by the Divinely-revealed Books and the Prophets—the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, in particular—are established on five or six basic points, which they have continuously striven to teach and prove. All the proofs and evidences which testify to their Prophethood and veracity are concerned with these fundamentals and corroborate their truthfulness. These fundamentals are belief in God, belief in the Hereafter, and belief in the other pillars of faith.
That is to say, it is not possible to separate the six pillars of belief. Each one proves the rest and they all require and necessitate each other. The six form a whole that it is absolutely indivisible. Consider a mighty tree—like the Touba tree of Paradise—whose roots are in the heavens. Each branch, fruit, and leaf of that mighty tree relies on its universal, inexhaustible life. A person unable to deny that powerful life, which is as clear as the sun, cannot deny the life of a single one of the leaves that are attached to it. If one does deny it, the tree will refute them to the number of its branches, fruits, and leaves, and that person will be silenced. Belief, with its six pillars, is similar to this.
At the beginning of this Matter, I intended to expound the six pillars of belief in thirty-six points, each pillar in a point with six sub-sections. I also intended to give a detailed reply to the awesome question at the beginning, but certain unforeseen circumstances have intervened. However, I think that the first point provides a sufficient basis, leaving no need for further explanation, particularly for those of keen intellect.
It must by now be fully understood that if a Muslim denies one of the pillars of belief, they will fall into absolute unbelief. Unlike other religions, Islam elucidates its pillars of belief with incomparable comprehensiveness, and the pillars of belief are inextricably bound together. A Muslim who does not recognize Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and does not confirm him will also fail to recognize God with His Attributes and will not know the Hereafter. A Muslim’s belief is based on powerful and unshakeable proofs which are so innumerable that there is no excuse for denial: these proofs quite simply compel human reason to accept them.
THE THIRD POINT: I once said “All praise and gratitude are for God!,” and searched for a Divine gift that would be equal to its infinitely broad meaning. Suddenly the following sentence occurred to me:
“All thanks be to God for the gift of belief in God, for His necessary Existence, His Unity, and for His Attributes and Names, to the number of the manifestations of His Names from pre-eternity to post-eternity.”
I looked and saw that it was completely appropriate.