this sort arising from desire for rank and position should not therefore be provoked. It is altogether opposed to our way. The brothers’ honour may be all the individuals’ generally; so I am hopeful that sacrificing that great collective honour for personal, selfish, competitive, minor fame and renown is far from being something the Risale-i Nur students would do. Yes, the heart, mind, and spirit of the Risale-i Nur students would not stoop to such lowly, harmful, inferior things. But everyone has an evil-commanding soul, and sometimes the soul’s emotions affect certain veins of character, and predominate to an extent in spite of the heart, mind, and spirit; I am not accusing your hearts, minds, and spirits. I have confidence in you because of the effect of the Risale-i Nur. But the soul, desires, emotions, and imagination sometimes deceive. For this reason you sometimes receive severe warnings. The severity looks to the soul, emotions, desires, and imagination; act cautiously.
Yes, if our way had been subjection to a shaykh, there would have been a single rank, or limited ranks, and numerous capacities would have been appointed to them. There could have been envy and selfishness. But our way is brotherhood. Among brothers there is no position of father among them, nor can they assume the position of spiritual guide. In brotherhood ranks are broad and cannot be the cause of envious jostling. At the most brother helps and supports brother; he completes his service. Evidence that much harm and many mistakes have resulted from the envy, greed for spiritual reward, and high aspirations of the paths of spiritual guides are the conflict and rivalry among those who follow them despite their vast attainments, perfections and benefits, which have had the disastrous consequence of their vast and sacred power being unable to withstand the gales of innovation.
The Third Obstacle: This is fear and greed. This obstacle has been explained comprehensively in The Six Attacks1 together with other obstacles. We therefore refer you to that, and making all the most beautiful names of the Most Merciful of the Merciful our intercessor, we beseech that He will grant us success in attaining complete sincerity.
O God! For the sake of Sura al-Ikhlas, place us among Your servants who attain sincerity. Amen. Amen.
Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.(2:32)
See, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Letters 1928-1932 (Istanbul: Sözler Neşriyat, new edn. 2009) the Sixth Section of the Twenty-Ninth Letter, pp. 474-90. (Tr.)