led them to make the contemplation of death fundamental to their spiritual journeyings; it dispelled the illusion of eternity, the source of worldly ambition. They imagined themselves to be dead and being placed in the grave. With prolonged thought the evil-commanding soul becomes saddened and affected by such imagining and gives up its far-reaching ambitions and hopes to an extent. There are numerous advantages in this contemplation. It is taught by the Hadith which says something like, “Frequently mention death which dispels pleasure and makes it bitter.”1
However, since our way is not that of the Sufis but of reality, we are not compelled to perform this contemplation in an imaginary and hypothetical form like they do. To do so is anyway not in conformity with the way of reality. Our way is not to bring the future to the present by thinking of the end, but to travel in the mind to the future from the present in respect of reality, and to gaze on it. Yes, dispensing with the need to imagine, one may look on one’s own corpse, the single fruit on the tree of this brief life. One may look on one’s own death, and if one goes a bit further, see the death of this century, and going further still, observe the death of this world, opening up the way to complete sincerity.
T h e S e c o n d M e a n s : By attaining a sense of the divine presence through the strength of certain, affirmative belief and through the lights proceeding from reflective thought on creatures which leads to knowledge of the Maker; by thinking that the Compassionate Creator is all-present and seeing; and by not seeking the attention of any other than He, and realizing that looking to others in His presence or seeking help from them is contrary to right conduct in His presence, one may be saved from such hypocrisy and gain sincerity. However, this comprises many degrees and stages. Whichever degree a person reaches, he will profit to that extent. There are numerous truths in the Risale-i Nur that will save a person from hypocrisy and gain him sincerity, so referring him to those, we cut short the discussion here.
Of the very many things that destroy sincerity and drive one to hypocrisy, we shall briefly explain two or three.
The First: Rivalry towards material advantages slowly destroys sincerity. It is also detrimental to the results of our service. So too it causes the material benefits to be lost. This nation has always nurtured respect for those who work for reality and the hereafter, and has assisted them. With the intention of actively sharing in their genuine sincerity and in the works
Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 4; Qiyama, 26; Nasa’i, Jana’iz, 3; Ibn Maja, Zuhd, 31; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, iv, 321.