Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Poems

Bediüzzaman Said Nursi (1877 – 23 March 1960), also spelled Said-i Nursî, officially Said Okur and commonly known with the honorific Bediüzzaman (بديع الزّمان, Badī’ al-Zamān), meaning “wonder of the age”; or simply Üstad, “master”) was a Kurdish Sunni Muslim theologian. He wrote the Risale-i Nur Collection, a body of Qur’anic commentary exceeding six thousand pages. Believing that modern science and logic was the way of the future, he advocated teaching religious sciences in secular schools and modern sciences in religious schools. Nursi inspired a religious movement[18][19] that has played a vital role in the revival of Islam in Turkey and now numbers several millions of followers worldwide. His followers, often known as the “Nurcu movement” or the “Nur cemaati”,[22] often call him by the venerating mononymic Üstad (“the Teacher”).

A Fruit of The Black Mulberry

(NOTE: In the blessed mulberry tree, the Old Said spoke the following with the tongue of the New Said.)

I am addressing not Ziya Pasha, but those enamored of Europe.
It is not my selfhood speaking, but my heart speaking
on behalf of the Qur’an’s students.

What is said in the previous Words is the truth.
Beware. Don’t go astray; don’t exceed it.
Don’t incline toward the ideas of Westerners, for they are misguided.
Don’t adopt them, or they’ll make you regret it.

You see their most enlightened and smartest people
exclaim in bewilderment: “Alas, I am perplexed.
Of whom and to whom can I complain?”

The Qur’an leads me to speak, and I speak—I won’t hold back.
I complain to Him, to His Grace of whatever befalls me
by His leave; I am not confused like you.

I cry out to the Truth—God; I don’t exceed the bounds, as you do.
While on the earth, I shout my cause to the heavens.
I don’t run away, as you do.

The Qur’an’s cause is light upon light; I don’t desert it, as you do.
The Qur’an is pure truth and wisdom, I’ll prove it.
I count as nothing the philosophy opposing it.

In the Criterion—the Qur’an—are diamond-like truths.
I accept them with all my heart; I don’t sell them, as you do.
I travel from creation to the Creator; I don’t deviate, as you do.

I fly over the thorny paths; I don’t tread them, as you do.
From the earth to the Divine Throne, I offer thanks.
I don’t neglect to do so, as you do.

I look on death as a friend; I’m not afraid, as you are.
I’ll enter the grave smiling; I’m not frightened, as you are.
I don’t see it as a monster’s mouth, a beast’s den, a passage to nothingness, as you do.
It reunites me with my friends. I’m not vexed by the grave, as you are.

It is the door of mercy, the door of light and truth.
I’m not discomforted by it; I won’t withdraw.
Saying: “In the Name of God,”
I’ll knock at the door. I’ll not look back or feel terror.

Saying: “All praise and gratitude are for God,”
I’ll lie down and find ease.
I’ll not suffer trouble or remain in solitude.

On hearing the call to the Resurrection,
I’ll rise up saying: “God is the All-Great.”73
I won’t hang back from the Supreme Gathering
or that most vast place of prostration.

I’ll feel no distress, thanks to Divine favor,
the Qur’an’s light, and the radiance of belief.
Not stopping, I’ll hasten and fly
to the shade of the All-Merciful’s Throne.
God willing, I won’t be confused, as you are.


73 I’ll hear the call of the Archangel Israfil on the dawn of the Resurrection, and declaring “God is the All-Great,” will rise up. I will not hang back from the “most comprehensive Prayer” and the Supreme Gathering.

Discourse of the stars

(NOTE: Once at night in a high spot on Çamdagi near Barla, I was looking at the heavens when the following lines suddenly occurred to me. I imagined I heard the stars’ speaking in the tongue of their disposition. Since I do not know the rules of versification, I wrote them as they occurred to me.)

Listen to the stars and heed their beautiful sermons.
See what Wisdom has written in these luminous missives of It.

They are all delivering this discourse with the tongue of truth:
“Each of us is a radiant proof for the majestic Sovereignty of an All Powerful One of Glory.

We are light-diffusing witnesses to the Existence of the Maker,
and also to His Unity and Power.

We are His subtle miracles gilding the face of the skies,
for the angels to make excursions on.

We are the innumerable discerning eyes of the heavens
directed to Paradise, and overseeing the earth.77

We are the exquisite fruits attached to the heavenly branch of the
Tree of Creation; and to the twigs of the Milky Way,
attached by the hand of wisdom of the All-Gracious One of Majesty.

For the inhabitants of the heavens, we are travelling mosques, revolving houses and exalted homes,
light-diffusing lamps, mighty ships, and planes.

We are miracles of the Power of the All-Powerful One of
Perfection, the All-Wise One of Majesty.
Each of us is a wonder of His creative Art, a rarity of His
Wisdom, a marvel of His creation, a world of light.

To the people who are truly human, we present countless proofs in countless tongues;
The eyes of the materialists, may they be blind, never see our faces, nor do their ears hear our speech; we are signs that speak the truth.

On us is the same stamp and seal. We obey and glorify our Lord, and mention Him in worship.
We are ecstatic lovers in the widest circle of the Milky Way, the circle reciting our Lord’s Names.


77 It is as if the stars, which can be considered as the eyes of heavenly bodies, were watching the intricate works of creation on the earth and then turning toward Paradise to observe the permanent forms of those works, just as the angels observe the miracles of Divine Power exhibited on the earth, the land sown with the seeds of the flowers of Paradise.

Two Tables Were Imparted To My Heart

(NOTE: About 25 years ago on Yusa Tepesi in Beykoz, Istanbul, when I had decided to renounce the world, several important friends came to call me back to the world and my former position. I told them to leave me till the following morning so I could seek Divine guidance. That morning the following two “Tables,” occurred to me. They resemble verse, but they are not. I have not changed them for the sake of that blessed memory. They are included here for they are appropriate.)

First Table

Second Table

(A depiction of the true spirit of the heedless people’s world.)

Do not invite me to the world,
I came and found it evil and mortal.

Heedlessness was a veil;
I saw the light of truth concealed.

All things, the whole of creation—
I saw were mortal and full of harm.

Existence, indeed I put it on.
Alas! It was non-existence; I suffered much.

As for life, I experienced it;
I saw it was torment within torment.

Intellect became pure retribution;
I saw permanence to be tribulation.

Life was like a wind, it passed in whims;
I saw perfection to be pure loss.

Actions were only for show;
I saw ambition to be pure pain.

Union was in fact separation;
I saw the cure to be the ailment.

These lights became darkness;
I saw these friends to be orphans.

These voices were announcements of death;
I saw the living to be dead.

Knowledge changed into whim;
I saw in science thousands of ailments.

Pleasure became unmixed pain;
I saw existence to be compounded non-existence.

I have found the True Beloved;
Ah, I suffered much pain because of separation.

(This table describes the true spirit of the world of the people of guidance and peace.)

Heedlessness has disappeared;
I have seen the light of truth to be manifest.

Existence is a proof of Divine Being.
See, life is the mirror reflecting The Truth.

Intellect has become the key to treasuries.
See, mortality is the door to eternity.

The spark of self-attainment has died.
But see, there is the sun of grace and beauty.

Separation has become true union;
See, pain is pure pleasure.

Life has become pure action.
See, eternity is pure life.

Darkness is a thin membrane enclosing light.
See, there is true life in death.

All things have become familiar.
See, all sounds are the mentioning of God.

All the particles in creation:
See, each glorifies God and calls Him by His Names.

I have found poverty to be a treasury of wealth.
See, in impotence lies perfect power.

If you have found God,
See, all things are yours.

If you are a slave of the Owner of all things,
See His property is yours.

If you are egotist and claim self-ownership,
See, it is endless trial and tribulation.

It is infinite torment, taste it,
See, it is an unbearable calamity.

If you are truly a slave of God, devoted to Him,
See, it is an infinite delight.

Taste its uncountable rewards,
See the boundless bliss; experience it.

Two Supreme Proofs of Divine Unity

With whatever is in it, the universe is a supreme proof; with its tongues of the unseen and manifest worlds, it declares God’s Unity and glorifies Him. Announcing the Unity of the All-Merciful, it continuously proclaims:

There is no deity but He!

All the atoms of its cells, all its parts and members, are tongues mentioning God. Together they pronounce in that resounding voice:

There is no deity but He!

The tongues are infinitely various, the voices are of differing pitch, but they are united on one point—the mention of Him, saying:

There is no deity but He!

The universe is the macro-human; it mentions God in a loud voice, while all its elements and atoms add to that loud voice their tiny voices, declaring in unison:

There is no deity but He!

The universe is a circle of God’s remembrance, reciting the Qur’an section by section. Its light comes from the Qur’an, and all beings with spirits reflect on the truth:

There is no deity but He!

The Qur’an, this Mighty, Glorious Criterion of Truth and Falsehood, is the most articulate proof of Divine Unity. All of its verses are truthful tongues, and rays from the lightning of belief. All together they declare:

There is no deity but He!

If you attach your ear to the bosom of that Criterion, in its profoundest depths you will hear clearly a heavenly voice which recites:

There is no deity but He!

Its voice is utterly exalted, utterly solemn, truly sincere, most friendly, utterly convincing, and equipped with proofs. Repeatedly it declares:

There is no deity but He!

All the six aspects of this proof of light are transparent: upon it is the flower and stamp of miraculousness and in it shines the light of guidance, which says:

There is no deity but He!

Beneath it lies subtly interwoven logic and proof; on its right the intelligence or reason is made speak and the mind completely affirms it, saying:

There is no deity but He!

On its left, identical to the right, the conscience is produced as a witness; before it lies pure good and its aim is happiness and prosperity, the key of which at every instant is:

There is no deity but He!

Its support beyond it, identical to “before it,” is heavenly, pure Divine Revelation. All these six aspects are luminous and manifested in the sign of each is:

There is no deity but He!

Can any lurking suspicion, any conceivable, piercing doubt, any treacherous deviance sneak into that resplendent, shining castle with its lofty walls of suras, every word of which is an angel uttering:

There is no deity but He!

A Flower from The Eternal Garden of A Verse

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

Look upon the imprints of God’s Mercy, how He revives the earth after its death! (30:50)

The following points to a flower from the eternal garden of this verse:

Every tree in blossom is an ode
rhythmic and well-composed,
singing the high and manifest praises of the Originator.
Or it is something with multiple eyes opened to watch,
and cause the attentive to watch the wonders
of the Maker’s art displayed.
Or it has clothed its members in green for their festival
so that its Master may observe
His illustrious works and gifts upon it,
while itself displays in the display hall—the earth—
His Mercy’s embellishments before humanity’s eyes,
thereby proclaiming the wisdom in its creation,
in that significant treasuries are stored in it
by the Generosity of the Lord of its fruits:
All-Glorified is He, how generous His favoring,
how clear the arguments for Him,
how manifest are His proofs!

The imagination sees angels clothed in bodies from the (branches of) these trees resembling thousands of flutes, and from these flutes are heard songs of praises of the All-Living. The leaves are each a tongue reciting: “O the All-Living!” and chanting all together:

“There is no deity but He.”

They incessantly utter: “O the Truth!” announce: “O the All-Living!” and together proclaim: “God.”

We send down from heaven blessed water. (50:9)


His Existence and Unity

Listen to the following verse:

Do they not observe the sky above them how We have constructed it and adorned it. (50:6)

Look at the sky’s face, where you see a silence in restful serenity; a wise, purposive motion; radiance in majesty; a smile in adornment; all combined in creation’s orderliness and art’s symmetry. Its candle’s brilliance, its lamp’s dazzle, and its stars’ glitter manifest infinite Sovereignty for those with insight and sound reasoning.

Like the phosphorescent hour-hands of a clock in a tall tower, He has made the moon in heaven’s dome the hour-hand of the largest clock of time. He causes it to move through its mansions according to a perfect measure and fine calculations, as if He leaves a different crescent to each night and then folds all of them in itself (making it invisible). Furthermore, He has gilded the sky’s beautiful face with stars that glitter and smile in that dome. All this points to His Lordship’s infinite Sovereignty and His Divinity’s magnificence and invites thinking people to believe in His Existence and Unity.

Look at the colorful page of the book of the universe,
and see how the golden Pen of the Power has inscribed it!
No point has been left dark for those
who can see with the eyes of their hearts.
It is as if God has written His signs with light.
See what an astounding miracle of wisdom the universe is!
See how tremendous a spectacle the space of the universe is!
Listen to the stars and heed their beautiful sermons.
See what Wisdom has written in these luminous missives of It.
They are all delivering this discourse with the tongue of truth:
“Each of us is a radiant proof for the majestic Sovereignty
of an All-Powerful One of Glory.
We are light-diffusing witnesses to the Existence of the Maker,
and also to His Unity and Power.
We are His subtle miracles gilding the face of the skies,
for the angels to make excursions on.
We are the innumerable discerning eyes of the heavens
directed to Paradise, and overseeing the earth.
We are the exquisite fruits attached to the heavenly branch
of the Tree of Creation; and to the twigs of the Milky Way,
attached by the hand of wisdom of
the All-Gracious One of Majesty.
For the inhabitants of the heavens, we are traveling mosques,
revolving houses and exalted homes,
light-diffusing lamps, mighty ships, and planes.
We are miracles of the Power of the All-Powerful One of Perfection,
the All-Wise One of Majesty.
Each of us is a wonder of His creative Art, a rarity of His Wisdom,
a marvel of His creation, a world of light.
To the people who are truly human, we present
countless proofs in countless tongues;
The eyes of the materialists, may they be blind,
never see our faces, nor do their ears hear our speech;
we are signs that speak the truth.
On us is the same stamp and seal. We obey and glorify our Lord,
and mention Him in worship.
We are ecstatic lovers in the widest circle of the Milky Way,
the circle reciting our Lord’s Names.


A Ray From The Manifestation of The Divine Name The All-Wise

In His Name, glory be to Him.
There is nothing that does not glorify Him with His praise.
God’s peace, mercy, and grace be upon you and your brothers!

Dear Brothers,

I AM NOW IN MY HUT  IN A TALL  PINE TREE ON MT. CAMDAGI. Totally isolated from other people, I have become used to loneliness. Whenever I desire human company, I imagine you with me and console myself with an imaginary conversation with you. If possible, I would like to stay here for some months. When I return to Barla, we will try to have a face-to-face conversation, something that I have been longing for more than you. For the time being, I am writing a few points that have occurred to me.

Isparta Çamdağı

FIRST: This is somewhat of a secret, but no secret remains unrevealed to you. It is as follows: Some people of truth are objects of the manifestation of the Divine Name the All-Loving. They look to the Necessarily Existent Being through the window of creation under that Name’s manifestation in the highest degree. Your poor brother seems to have been made the object of the manifestations of the Divine Names the All-Compassionate and All-Wise while serving the Qur’an as the herald of its infinite gems. All of The Words are manifestations of this Divine favor. I hope God has included The Words in the meaning of:

Whoever is given the Wisdom has been given much good (2:269).

SECOND: Then I remembered the dictum about the Naqshbandi way’s principles: In this way, one must renounce four things: the world, the Hereafter, “becoming,” and the idea of renunciation. Remembering this brought another dictum to mind: In our way, depending on one’s perception of his [or her] nothingness,10 four things are necessary: perception and admission of one’s absolute poverty vis-à-vis the Divine Riches, of absolute helplessness vis-à-vis the Divine Power, of absolute gratitude or thankfulness to God, and of absolute enthusiasm in His cause.

Then I remembered your grand and colorful poem beginning with: “Look at the Book of the Universe’s colorful page.” Through that poem’s window, I looked at the stars and wished I were a poet to complete it. I wrote down what occurred to me at that moment, although I have no talent for writing verse. As my successor, you can shape it into proper verse if you would like to. This is what suddenly came to me:

Listen to the stars and heed their beautiful sermons,
see what is written in these luminous missives of Wisdom.
All of them are jointly delivering this truthful discourse:

“Each of us is a radiant proof
for the glorious Sovereignty of
an All-Powerful One of Majesty.
We bear witness to the Maker’s Existence,
and to His Unity and Power…

We are His subtle miracles sending light to gild Earth’s face
and upon which the angels make excursions.
We are the heavens’ innumerable discerning eyes
directed to Paradise and overseeing Earth.11

We are the exquisite fruits
attached to the Tree of Creation’s heavenly branch;
and to the Milky Way’s twigs, attached by
the All-Gracious One of Majesty’s Hand of wisdom.
For the heavens’ inhabitants, we are travelling mosques,
revolving houses and exalted homes,
light-diffusing lamps, mighty ships, and planes.

We are miracles of the Power of the All-Powerful One of Perfection,
the All-Wise One of Majesty,
Each of us is a wonder of His creative art,
a rarity of His Wisdom,
A marvel of His creation, a world of light.

To the one who is truly human,
We present countless proofs in countless tongues.
The atheists’ eyes, may they be blind, never sees our faces,
Nor do their ears hear our speech.
We are signs that speak the truth.
On us is the same stamp and seal.

We obey and glorify our Lord,
and mention Him in worship…
We are ecstatic lovers in the Milky Way’s widest circle,
the circle reciting our Lord’s Names.

The Everlasting: He is the Everlasting.


10 The Qur’an declares: I shall not allow to go to waste the deed of any doer among you, whether be a male or female: you are one from the other (3:195). It is clear that Islam does not discriminate between men and women in religious responsibility. Each gender shares most of the responsibilities, but each one has certain responsibilities that are particular to it. The Qur’an usually uses the masculine form of address, for this is one of Arabic’s characteristics. In almost every language, the masculine form is used for a group comprising both men and women, like the English word mankind, which includes both men and women. So, brotherhood also includes sisterhood, and, since the believers comprise both male and female believers, the believers are brothers and sisters. However, in order to maintain the original text and avoid repetition, usually we do not mention the feminine forms in translation. (Tr.)

11 It is as if the stars, the “eyes” of heavenly bodies, watch the intricate works of creation on Earth and then turn toward Paradise to observe their permanent forms, just as the angels observe the miracles of Divine Power exhibited on Earth, the land sown with the seeds of Paradise’s flowers.

Belief Relieves Loneliness

In His Name, glory be to Him.

There is nothing that does not glorify Him with His praise.lonely and weak,

May God’s peace, mercy, and grace be upon you and your brothers so long as days and nights continue, afternoons follow each other, the moon reappears after its complete disappearance, and the Farkadan (the two stars b and Ursae Minoris) coincide.

PERSEVERING BROTHERS, ZEALOUS FRIENDS, AND MEANS OF CONSOLATION for me in this world of separation and exile. As God Almighty enables you to share the meanings with which He has endowed me, you have a right to share my feelings as well. While I will not relate the unbearable afflictions arising from this exile, as that might drive you to extreme sorrow, I will write about my surrounding conditions.

I have been very lonely for the last 3 months. At most, a visitor drops by once every 15 or 20 days. Otherwise, I am alone. In addition, it has been 20 days since the mountaineers left the area. At this time of night in these forsaken mountains, silent and amidst the trees’ sorrowful sounds, I find myself immersed in five sorts of loneliness, as follows:

FIRST: Being old, I am separated from most of my contemporaries, friends, and relatives who have gone to the Intermediate World (between this life and the next) and left me in a most wretched isolation. This loneliness makes me feel a second type of separation coming from the disappearance of most creatures with which I feel a connection, such as the past spring. This loneliness arouses yet another feeling, that of separation caused by being far from my hometown and relatives. In addition to these, the mountains’ dark nightscape makes me feel a fourth kind of separation.

Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum. On the Threshold of Eternity.

Lastly, I have seen my soul in complete separation during its journey to eternity from this guest-house (the world). I exclaimed all of a sudden: “Glory be to God!” wondering how I could endure such separations. In the meantime, I felt my heart groan out this couplet:

O Lord, I am a stranger, I am lonely and weak,
impotent, old and ill, and I have no choices at all;
O God, I beg Your mercy, ask Your forgiveness,
and I cry for help from Your Throne of Grace!

At just that point belief’s light, the Qur’an’s effusive grace, and the All-Merciful’s favor came to my aid and changed five kinds of separation into five circles of warm companionship. As I recited:

God is sufficient for us; an excellent Guardian is He (3:173),

my heart recited: If they turn their backs, say:

“God is enough for me. There is no god but He. In Him I have put my trust. He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne” (9:129).

Also my soul, weeping and wailing in its fearful sorrow, was persuaded by my intellect, which told it:

O helpless one, give up wailing and trust God,
for this wailing is an error that causes trouble after trouble;
If you have found the One Who makes you suffer, this suffering
changes into a gift bringing peace and happiness.

So thank God instead of complaining, for nightingales
are always happy with the happiness of roses.
But if you do not find Him, the whole world is a
place of suffering, misfortune, and loss.

When you have so great a responsibility
(as to be able to be an approved servant of God and gain eternal life),
why are you wailing over an insignificant misfortune?
Come, put your trust in God and smile at the face of misfortune
so that it may also smile, for as it smiles, it lessens and changes.

Then, like Mawlana Jalal al-Din,15 I said to myself:

He asked: “Am I not (your Lord)?”
and you responded: “Yes!”

How can one thank Him for that “yes”?
By suffering misfortune!
What is the mystery of that “yes”?
That you say: “I am a slave in chains in the
abode of poverty and perishing.”

Upon this, my soul conceded that people can open the door to light by understanding their helplessness and poverty before God’s Power and Riches, and by trusting and seeking refuge in Him. It therefore praised and thanked God for the light of belief and submission. I came to understand how sublime a truth is contained in this couplet in Ata’ullah Iskandarani’s The Wise Sayings:

What has he found who has lost God?
And what has he lost who has found God?

This allowed me to grasp the inner meaning of the Prophetic Tradition: “Good tidings await those who are estranged by others (because of their Islamic beliefs and lifestyle).”

Although my loneliness and feelings of separation were removed by the light of belief, they nevertheless left a strong impression on my spirit. They drove me to ask myself if my duty in this guest-house of the world has ended, as this world is only a station on my way to eternity, so that I may delegate that duty to you and The Words. That is why I asked you whether The Words were enough to remove all doubt concerning the truths of belief, so that I could forget the world and, saying as Mawlana Jalal al-Din said:

Do you know what sama‘ (whirling in ecstasy) is?
It is to become unconscious of self-existence.
And to enjoy permanence in the self’s absolute annihilation.

The Everlasting: He is the Everlasting.


15 Jalal al-Din al-Rumi, also known as Mawlana (1207-73): The greatest Sufi master and poet in the Persian language, famous for his lyrics and for his didactic epic Masnavi-ye Ma’navi (“Spiritual Couplets”), which widely influenced Muslim Sufi thought and literature. After Rumi’s death, his disciples were organized  as the Mawlawiyah order, called in the West the Whirling Dervishes. (Ed.)

By Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

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