branches where it is found. The dominions (mulk) of Allah the Most High are indeed wide and the tree of creation is spread [throughout them], so wherever Hell travels it cannot be repulsed.
It says in a Hadith: “Hell is folded up.” This possibly means that Hell is an egg of the bird of our flying earth, and when the veil of the Manifest World is rent, [the earth] will lay its egg and [Hell] will emerge, baring its teeth at the people of rebellion. It is also possible that it was this [question of Hell] being ‘folded up’ that caused the Mu‘tazilites to fall into the error [of believing] that Hell is not now existent, and to cling onto it.
Now for the positioning [and relationships of]
the parts of the phrases:
The [conjunction] “and (al-wāw)” in “And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed, step by step, to Our servant (Wa in kuntum fī raybin mimmā nazzalnā ‘alā ‘abdina),” is [so placed] because of the relationship between [this verse and “O you people! Worship...”, but no such relationship is apparent. It becomes apparent only through two implied questions and their answers: firstly is the implied answer to the question arising from the first verse: “How should we worship?”, that is,] “as the Qur’an has taught you.” [In reply to the second implied question: “How can we know the Qur’an is Allah’s word?”, it says: “And if you are in doubt...”]1
The use of “if (in),” which expresses hesitation, instead of “idhā,” which infers certainty and resolve, [although it is certain that they are in a state of doubt,] indicates that because means had arisen to dispel their doubts, their very existence should be doubtful or impossible even; they could only be hypothetical.
Also, the doubt expressed by “if (in)” looks to the [literary] style and not to the Speaker (May He be exalted).
The substitution of “you are in doubt (kuntum fī raybin)” for [the verbal form] ‘you doubt’ although the latter is more concise, indicates that the source of their doubt is their sick natures and characters.
And the doubt encompassing (ẓarfīyya) them although it is contained (maẓrūf) by their hearts hints that the darkness of doubt has spread from their hearts and overwhelmed their whole physical beings, enveloping in darkness all ways [of possible illumination].
The use of the indefinite for “doubt (rayb)” is to make it general. That is, whichever of the sorts of doubt you feel, the answer is the same, and that
Nursi, İşârâtü’l-İ’caz [Abdülmecid], 203-4.