Feud With Devil About The Holy Book, The Quran
This First Topic defeats in argument the Devil, silences the rebellious, and strikes them dumb by refuting in the most clear manner a fearsome and cunning stratagem of the Devil, which is to be ‘unbiased.’ It concerns an event part of which I described in summary form ten years ago in my other work. It is as follows:
Eleven years before this treatise was written in the month of Ramadhan, I was listening to the Quran being recited in Bayezid Mosque in Istanbul. Suddenly, although I could see no one, I seemed to hear an unearthly voice, which captured all my attention. I listened with my imagination, and realized that it was saying to me:
“You consider the Holy Book to be extremely elevated and brilliant. Be unbiased for a minute and consider it again. That is, suppose it to be man’s word. I wonder whether you would still see the same qualities and beauty in it?”
In truth, I was deceived by the voice; I thought of the Holy Book as being written by man. Just as Bayezid Mosque is plunged into darkness when the electric switch is turned off, I observed that with that thought the brilliant lights of the Holy Book began to be extinguished. At that point I understood that it was the Devil who was speaking to me; he was drawing me towards the abyss.
And if a suggestion from Satan assails your mind, seek refuge with God; for He is the All-Hearing and the All-Knowing (7:200).
I sought help from the Holy Book and a light was at once imparted to my heart giving me firm strength for the defense. I began to argue back at the Devil, saying:
“O Satan! Unbiased thinking is to take a position between two sides. Whereas what both you and your disciples from among men call unbiased thinking is to take the part of the opposing side; it is not impartiality, it is temporary unbelief. Because, to consider the Holy Book to be man’s word and to judge it as such is to take the part of the opposing side; it is to favor something baseless and invalid. It is not being unbiased, it is being biased towards falsehood.”
The Devil replied:
“Well, in that case, say it is neither God’s Word nor man’s word. Think of it as between the two.”
To which I rejoined:
“That is not possible either. For if there is a disputed property for which there are two claimants, and the claimants are close both to one another and to the property, the property will then either be given to someone other than them, or will be put somewhere accessible so that whoever proves ownership can take it. If the two claimants are far apart with one in the East and one in the West, then according to the rule, it will remain with the one who has possession of it, as it is not possible for it to be left somewhere between them.
“Thus, the Holy Book is a valuable property, and however distant man’s word is from God’s, the two sides in question are that far apart; indeed, they are infinitely far from one another. It is not possible for the Holy Book to be left between the two sides, which are as far apart as the sky and the ground. For they are opposites like existence and non-existence or the two magnetic poles; there can be no point between them. In which case, for the Holy Book, the one who possesses it is God’s side. It will be accepted as being in His possession, and the proofs of ownership will be regarded in that way. Should the opposing side refute all the arguments proving it to be God’s Word, it may claim ownership of it, otherwise it may not. God forbid! What hand can pull out the nails fastening that vast jewel to the Sublime Throne of God, riveted as it is with thousands of certain proofs, and break its supporting pillars, causing it to fall?”
“And so, inspite of you, O Satan! The just and the fair-minded reason in this equitable and rightful manner. They increase their belief in the Holy Book through even the slightest evidences. While according to the way shown by you and your disciples, if just once it is supposed to be man’s word and that mighty jewel fastened to the Divine Throne is cast to the ground, a proof with the strength of all the nails and the firmness of many proofs becomes necessary in order to raise it from the ground and fasten it once more to the Throne, and so be saved from the darkness of unbelief and reach the lights of belief. But because it is extremely difficult to do this, due to your wiles, many people are losing their faith at this time by imagining themselves to be making unbiased judgements.”
The Devil turned and said:
“The Holy Book resembles man’s word. It is similar to the way men converse. That means it is man’s word. If it were God’s Word, it would be appropriate to Him and would be altogether out of the ordinary. Just as His art does not resemble man’s art, so should His Word not resemble man’s word.”
“It may be understood as follows: apart from his miracles and special attributes, the Messenger Muhammad was a human being in all his actions, conduct, and behavior. He submitted to and complied with the Divine laws and commands manifested in creation. He too suffered from the cold, experienced pain, and so on. So that he could be the leader of his community through his actions, its guide through his conduct, and instruct it through his entire behavior, his deeds and attributes were not all made out of the ordinary. If he had been out of the ordinary in all his conduct, he could not himself have been the leader in every respect, the total guide of everyone, the ‘Mercy to All the Worlds’ through all his attributes.
“In just the same way, the All-Wise Holy Book is the leader to the aware and the conscious, the guide of jinn and men, the teacher of those attaining to perfection, and instructor of those seeking reality. It is of necessity and of a certainty, therefore, in the same form as man’s conversation and style. For men and jinn take their supplications from it and learn their prayers from it; they express their concerns in its language, and learn from it the rules of social behavior, and so on. Everyone has recourse to it. If, therefore, it had been in the form of the Divine speech which the Prophet Moses heard on Mount Sinai, man could not have borne listening to it and hearing it, nor made it the point of reference and recourse. Moses, one of the five greatest prophets, could only endure to hear a few words.
‘Is Your speech thus?’ God replied: ‘I have the power of all tongues.’
Next, the Devil said:
“Many people speak of matters similar to those in the Holy Book in the name of religion. Is it not possible, therefore, that a human being did such a thing and made up the Holy Book in the name of religion?”
Through the light of the Holy Book I replied as follows:
“Firstly: Out of love of religion, someone who is religious may say, ‘The truth is thus, the reality of the matter is this. The Almighty God commands that.’ But he would not make God speak to suit himself. Trembling at the verse,
Who, then does more wrong than one who utters a lie concerning God? (39:32),
He would not overstep his mark to an infinite degree, imitate God, and speak on His behalf.
“Secondly: It is in no way possible for a human being to be successful in doing such a thing on his own, in fact, it is completely impossible. Individuals who resemble one another may imitate one another, those of the same kind may take on one another’s forms, those who are close to one another in rank or status may imitate one another and temporarily deceive people, but they cannot do so for ever. For in any event, the falseness and artificiality in their behavior will show up their imposture to the observant and their deception will not last. If the one who is attempting to imitate another under false pretences is quite unlike them, for example, if an uneducated man wants to imitate in learning a genius like Avicenna, or a shepherd assume the position of a king, of course they will not deceive anyone at all, they will only make fools of themselves. Everything they do will proclaim, ‘This is an impostor.’
“Thus, to suppose -God forbid! The Holy Book to be man’s word is utterly impossible, no rational being can accept it as possible, to do so is a delirium like imagining to be possible something that is self-evidently impossible like a fire-fly being seen by astronomers as a real star for a thousand years; or a fly appearing to observers in the true form of a peacock for a year; or a bogus common private posing as a famous lofty field marshal, taking over his position and remaining in it for a long period without giving away his deception; or like a slandering, unbelieving liar affecting the manner and position of the most truthful, trustworthy, upright believer throughout his life and being completely unruffled before even the most observant while concealing his fraud from them.
“In just the same way, if the Holy Book is supposed to be man’s word, then it has to be supposed, God forbid, that that Perspicuous Book, which is considered to be clearly a most brilliant star, rather, a sun of perfections perpetually scattering the lights of truth in the heavens of the world of Submission, is like a fire-fly, a spurious sham made up by a counterfeiting human. And those who are closest to it and study it most carefully do not realize this, and consider it to be a perpetual, exalted star and source of truth. Together with this being impossible a hundred times over, even if you went a hundred times further in your diabolical machinations, O Satan, you could not make such an assertion, you could not deceive anyone of sound reason! Only sometimes you trick people by making them look from a great distance, thus making the star appear as small as a firefly.
“Thirdly: Also, if the Holy Book is imagined to be man’s word, it necessitates that the hidden reality of a criterion of truth and falsehood, which is miraculous in its exposition, and through the testimony of its fruits, results, and effects, is gilded with the most spiritual and life-giving, the most truthful and happiness-bringing, the most comprehensive and exalted qualities in the world of mankind, is, God forbid, the fabrication of a single unaided and unlearned man’s mind. And that the great geniuses and brilliant scholars who observed that being closely and studied him meticulously at no time saw any trace of counterfeit or pretence in him and always found him serious, genuine, and sincere.
“This is completely impossible, an idea so nonsensical as to shame the Devil himself, like dreaming up an utterly impossible situation. For it entails supposing one who throughout his life demonstrated and taught trust, belief, confidence, sincerity, seriousness, and integrity through all his conduct, words, and actions, and raised eminently truthful and sincere followers, and was accepted to possess the highest and most brilliant and elevated virtues to be the most untrustworthy, insincere, and unbelieving. Because in this question there is no point between the two.
“If, to suppose the impossible, the Holy Book was not the Word of God, it would fall as though from the Divine Throne to the ground, it would not remain somewhere between. While being the meeting-point of truths, it would become the source of superstition and myth. And if, God forbid, the one who proclaimed that wonderful decree was not God’s Messenger, it would necessitate his descending from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low, and from the degree of being the source of accomplishments and perfections to the level of being a mine of trickery and intrigue; he could not remain between the two. For one who lies and fabricates in God’s name falls to the very lowest of degrees.
“However impossible it is to permanently see a fly as a peacock, and to all the time see the peacock’s attributes in the fly, this matter is that impossible. Only someone lacking all intelligence could imagine it to be possible.
“Fourthly: Also, if the Holy Book is imagined to be man’s word, it necessitates fancying that the Holy Book, which is a sacred commander of the community of Muhammad, mankind’s largest and most powerful army, is -God forbid- a powerless, valueless, baseless forgery. Whereas, self-evidently, through its powerful laws, sound principles, and penetrating commands, it has equipped that huge army both materially, and morally and spiritually, has given it an order and regularity and imposed a discipline on it that are such as to conquer both this world and the next, and has instructed the minds, trained the hearts, conquered the spirits, purified the consciences, and employed and utilized the limbs and members of individuals according to the degree of each. To imagine it to be a counterfeit necessitates accepting hundredfold impossibility.
“This impossibility entails the further complete impossibility of supposing that one who, through his deliberate conduct throughout his life taught mankind the Almighty God’s laws, and through his honest behavior instructed man in the principles of truth, and through his sincere and reasonable words showed and established the straight way of moderation and happiness, and as all his life testifies, felt great fear of Divine punishment and knew God better than anyone else and made Him known, and in splendid fashion has for one thousand three hundred and fifty years commanded a fifth of mankind and half the globe, and through his qualities of renown is in truth the means of pride of mankind, indeed, of the universe, God forbid a hundred thousand times, neither feared God, nor knew Him, nor held back from lying, nor had any self-respect because in this matter there is no point between the two. For if, to suppose the impossible, the Holy Book is not the Word of God, if it falls from the Divine Throne to the ground, it cannot remain somewhere in between the two. Indeed, it then has to be accepted as the property of the very worst of liars. And as for this, O Satan, even if you were a hundred times more Satanic, you could not deceive any mind that was not unsound, nor persuade any heart that was not corrupted.”
The Devil retorted:
“How should I not deceive them? I have deceived most of mankind and their foremost thinkers into denying the Holy Book and Muhammad”
“Firstly: When seen from a great distance, the greatest thing appears the same as the smallest. A star may even appear as a candle.
“Secondly: Also, when seen both as secondary and superficially, something, which is completely impossible, may appear to be possible.
“One time an old man was watching the sky in order to see the new moon of Ramadhan when a white hair fell on his eye. Imagining it to be the moon, he announced: ‘I have seen the new moon.’ Now, it is impossible that the white hair should have been the moon, but because his intention was to look for just the moon and the hair was by the way and secondary, he paid it no attention and thought that impossibility was possible.
“Thirdly: Also, non-acceptance is one thing and denial is something quite different. Non-acceptance is indifference, a closing of the eyes to something, an ignorant absence of judgement. Many completely impossible things may be concealed within it, and the mind does not concern itself with them. As for denial, it is not non-acceptance, but an acceptance of non-existence; it is a judgement. The mind is compelled to work. So a devil like you takes hold of the mind of a person, then leads it to denial. And, showing the false as truth and the impossible as possible through satanic wiles like heedlessness, misguidance, fallacious reasoning, obstinacy, false arguments, pride, deception, and habit, you make those unfortunate creatures in human form swallow unbelief and denial, although they comprise innumerable impossibilities.
“Fourthly: Also, if the Holy Book is supposed to be the word of man, it necessitates imagining to be its opposite a book which has self-evidently guided the purified, veracious saints and spiritual poles, who shine like stars in the heavens of the world of mankind, has continuously instructed every level of the people of perfection in truth and justice, veracity and fidelity, faith and trustworthiness, and has ensured the happiness of the two worlds through the truths of the pillars of belief and the principles of the pillars of Islam, and through the testimony of these achievements is of necessity veracious, and pure, genuine truth, and absolutely right, and most serious -it necessitates imagining, God forbid, that this Book comprises the opposites of these qualities, effects, and lights. And that, regarding it as a collection of fabrications and lies, it is a frenzy of unbelief that would shame even the Sophists and the devils, and cause them to tremble.
“And this impossibility necessitates the further most ugly and abhorrent impossibility that One who, according to the testimony of the religion and the laws of religion which he proclaimed, and the unanimous indications to the extraordinary fear of God and pure and sincere worship which he demonstrated throughout his life, and as necessitated by the good moral qualities unanimously witnessed in him, and according to the affirmation of the people of truth and perfection whom he raised, was the most believing, the most steadfast, the most trustworthy, and the most truthful, was -God forbid, and again, God forbid- without belief, that he was most untrustworthy, did not fear God, nor shrink from lying. To imagine this necessitates imagining the most loathsome form of impossibility and perpetrating the most iniquitous and vicious sort of misguidance.
“In Short: The common people, whose understanding of the Holy Book is gained by listening to it, say, ‘Were the Holy Book to be compared with all the books I have listened to and the other books in the world, it would not resemble any of them; it is not of the same sort as them nor of the same degree.’ The Holy Book, then, is of a degree either above all of them or below all of them. To be below them is impossible, and no enemy nor the Devil even could accept it. In which case, the Holy Book is above all other books, and is therefore a miracle. And in just the same way, we say according to the categorical proof called ‘residue,’ taken from the sciences of method and logic:
“O Satan and O disciples of Satan! The Holy Book is either the Word of God come from the Supreme Throne of God and His Greatest Name, or, God forbid, and again, God forbid, it is a human forgery fabricated on earth by someone without belief who neither feared God nor knew Him. In the face of the above proofs, O Satan, you can neither say that, nor could you have said it, nor will you be able to say it in the future. Therefore, the Holy Book is the Word of the Creator of the universe. Because there is no point between the two; it is impossible and precluded that there should be. Just as we have proved in the most clear and decisive manner; and you have seen it and heard it.
“In the same way, Muhammad is either God’s Messenger and the highest of the prophets and the most superior of creatures or he has to be imagined to be someone without belief having fallen to the lowest of the low because he lied concerning God, and did not know God, and did not believe in His punishment. And as for this, O Devil, neither you nor the philosophers of Europe and hypocrites of Asia on whom you rely could say it, nor could you say it in the past, neither shall you be able to say it in the future, for there is no one in the world who would listen to it and accept it. It is because of this that the most corrupting of those philosophers and the most lacking in conscience of the hypocrites, even, admit that ‘Muhammad was very clever, and was most moral and upright.'”
“Since this matter is restricted to these two sides, and the second one is impossible and no one at all claims it to be true, and since we have proved with decisive arguments that there is no point between them, for sure and of necessity, in spite of you and your party, Muhammad is the Prophet of God, and the highest of the prophets and the best of all creatures.”
By Bediuzzaman Said Nursi