fully. [That is, the Hadith’s authenticity and the unanimity concerning it should be considered carefully.]
• If you were to ask: Unbelief is ignorance yet in the Qur’an it says: “The People of the Book know this as they know their own sons.”(2:146) How can these two statements be reconciled?
You would be told: There are two sorts of unbelief. The first is due to ignorance; a person denies because he does not know. The second is obstinate rejection; a person knows but does not accept; he is certain but does not believe; he affirms but his conscience does not submit. Think carefully about this!
• If you were to ask: Does Satan know Allah in his heart?
You would be told: No, because due to his innate disposition his heart is continuously preoccupied with leading people astray, and his mind continuously thinks of unbelief and inculcating it in others. He never ceases doing this. The idea of unbelief never quits his head so that knowledge of Allah might become established in it.
• If you were to ask: Unbelief is an attribute of the heart, so how can wearing the ‘zunnar’1 and the hat, which has been compared to it, be unbelief?
You would be told: The Shari‘a acknowledges the outward signs of hidden matters. It even recognizes apparent causes that have no reason (‘illa) as the reason. So since some girdles hinder bowing in prayer and some hats prevent full prostration, it deems the wearing of them a reason for unbelief. For they both infer the renouncing of worship and imitation of unbelievers, betokening appreciation of their outlook and nationality. Thus, so long as the hidden matter is not decisively disproved, judgement is made according to its outward signs.
• If you were to ask: If they have no warning, why should people be held accountable?
You would be told: To rebut their arguments and excuses. [For they could say: We weren’t told that we would be held to account, and did not know about it. And this could save them from punishment.]2
• If you were to ask: Since their obstinate rejection is foretold, it means they are prevented from believing. Isn’t it therefore impossible to hold them responsible?
You would be told: Neither the prediction, nor divine knowledge or will
al-Zunnār – a rope girdle worn by Eastern Christians, Jews, and Magi.
Nursi, İşârâtü’l-İ’jaz [Abdülmecid], 78.