friend of mine sacrificing a hundred lessons in reality to win the attentions of such a scoundrel was not despicable abasement and degeneration; I thanked Almighty God and was saved from the abyss. For as I said before, Satan pushes man into serious peril because of some insignificant matter that in reality lacks existence. Moreover, man’s soul always listens to Satan; and his powers of anger and animal appetites are like both receivers and transmitters of Satan’s whisperings.
It is in consequence of this that Almighty God’s names of Oft-Forgiving and All-Compassionate are turned to the people of belief with a maximum manifestation, and He points out in the All-Wise Qur’an that the greatest gift He bestows on the prophets is forgiveness and He calls on them to seek forgiveness. Repeating the blessed words, “In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate” at the start of every Sura and commanding that it be recited at the commencement of all good works,1 He shows that His all-encompassing mercy embraces the universe and is a stronghold and place of refuge. And by the command, “Seek refuge with God,”(7:200, etc.) He makes a shield of the phrase, “I seek refuge with God from Satan the Accursed.”
One of Satan’s most dangerous stratagems is this: he makes certain sensitive and ingenuous people confuse imagining unbelief with affirming it. He shows the imagining of misguidance to be the affirmation of it. He also conjures up in their imaginations ugly thoughts about holy individuals and sacred things. He shows also things which are essentially possible together with those that are reasonably possible, thus making those things appear to be doubts opposed to the certainty of belief. Then the wretched sensitive man supposes that he has fallen into misguidance and unbelief, and that his certainty of belief has been lost; he falls into despair and becomes the plaything of Satan. Satan works both his despair, and that weak vein of his, and his confusion, so that he either goes mad, or exclaiming: “All is lost,” embraces misguidance. We have explained in some parts of the Risale-i Nur just how lacking in substance are these diabolical stratagems, so here shall discuss them only briefly, as follows:
Just as a snake’s image in a mirror cannot bite, nor the similitude of fire burn, or the reflection of filth soil; so the reflections of unbelief and association of partners with God cannot corrupt belief nor the shadows of
See, Ibn Maja, Nikah, 19; Musnad, ii, 359; al-Nasa’i, al-Sunan al-Kubra, vi, 127-8; ‘Abd al-Razzaq, al-Musannaf, vi, 189; Ibn Hibban, al-Sahih, i, 173-4.