least ten merits and rewards, and fruits of Paradise and lights in the Intermediate Realm, and sometimes ten thousand, and sometimes – through the mystery of the Night of Power – thirty thousand. There is no book in the universe to compete with it in this respect and no one could put one forward. Since this Qur’an which we have is the Word of the All-Glorious Creator of the heavens and earth, proceeding from His absolute dominicality, the tremendousness of His Godhead, and His all-encompassing mercy, and is His decree and a source of His mercy; adhere to it. In it are found a cure for every ill, a light for every darkness, and a hope for all despair. And the key to this eternal treasury is belief and submission to God, and listening to the Qur’an and accepting it, and reciting it.
One time at the start of my old age when I desired solitude, I retired to Yuşa Tepesi, Mount Joshua, away up the Istanbul Bosphorus. My spirit was seeking ease in loneliness. One day on that high hill, I gazed around me at the broad horizon, and I cast a glance from the high position of the forty-fifth branch, that is, the forty-fifth year of the tree of my life to its lower levels. I saw that down on the lower branches of each year were the countless corpses of those I had known and had loved and with whom I had been connected. I felt a truly piteous sorrow at their parting and separation, I wept like Fuzuli Baghdadi for the friends from whom I was parted:
As I recall their company I weep,
So long as there is breath in this dry body, I cry out.
I sought a solace, a light, a door leading to hope. Suddenly belief in the hereafter came to my assistance, shedding an inextinguishable light, offering an indestructible hope.
Yes, my brothers and sisters who are elderly like me! Since the hereafter exists and it is everlasting, and it is a better world than this; and since the One who created us is both All-Wise and All-Compassionate; we should not complain and regret our old age. On the contrary, we should be happy at it in so far as with age one reaches perfect maturity through worship and belief, and it is a sign one will be released from the duties of life and depart for the world of mercy in order to rest.
According to narrations, some relying on witnessing and some on ‘absolute certainty’, mankind’s most eminent individuals, the one hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets,1 have unanimously given news of the
Musnad, v, 266; Wali al-Din Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih, iii, 122; Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawzi, Zad al-Ma‘ad (tahqiq: al-Arnavud) i, 43-4.